A point on the road is always satisfying. Still, there’s somewhat of a sour taste in our mouths after this one, a game in which Maxi Urruti confirmed his hot start to the season in his return to familiar territory with two goals. Against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium, the Impact had never returned home with a positive result after four visits since 2012.
Head coach Thierry Henry highlighted it before the game, stating that the Texan club was extremely difficult to maneuver at home, where they suffered just one loss back in 2019, and just eight losses since 2015. As expected, the home side did see lots of the ball in the opening 45, but the Impact held strong, earning multiple sequences of possession themselves which allowed them to push Dallas’ block into its own zone.
But head coach Luchi Gonzalez’s men lacked the finishing touch in the final third, with Montreal doing a good job suffocating them the second they entered the final third.
"We knew what their game plan was and what they were going to do, but I think we came out a little flat in the first half, although it was a much better second," said centre-back Joel Waterman. "We were up by two with fifteen minutes go, so we should’ve preserved the lead. Obviously, we wanted to take the three points, but coming into a tough environment like this, we’ll settle for one."
In the second half, the visitors created more opportunities, and unlike Dallas in the first half, they made sure to take full advantage of their looks on goal.
It was the Argentine Maxi Urruti, who made the difference in the Impact’s first game, that found the back of the net in the 59th minute, finishing off a rebound in the opposing keeper’s six-yard box. Ten minutes later, the Argentine was in prime position in the box again, getting on the end of a deflected pass from the flanks and tucking it past Gonzalez for his 51st MLS goal.
All of a sudden, the Impact had a two-goal lead in a place it had never earned a point. The hosts switched into high gear and dominated the last quarter of the game, scoring a first goal in the 83rd minute. Then, in the sixth minute of the seven additional minutes added on, the hosts were able to break the Impact’s defensive line one last time and tie the game.
“It’s a very good point, especially after what happened in the first half,” said head coach Thierry Henry. “We weren’t in the game and we didn’t respect what we had to do on the ball and off it. The 25 first minutes of the second half were a lot better. In the second half we started to respect our positioning when in possession, and we were able to hurt them. It’s frustrating because we were leading 2-0, but at the end it’s a very good point.”
The focus now shifts to the Concacaf Champions League for Montreal, who return home to take on Honduran side CD Olimpia in the first leg of the quarterfinals on Tuesday, March 10, at Olympic Stadium at 8pm. Tickets available here.