HARRISON, New Jersey – The Montreal Impact started the second half of the season with a 4-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls, Saturday night, at Red Bull Arena.
Despite the loss under difficult conditions due to high humidity, the Impact remains atop the Eastern Conference standings, tied with the Red Bulls with 31 points, but the Impact has two games in hand.
The New York Red Bulls struck first when midfielder Eric Alexander took a pass from Thierry Henry and then dribbled down the right flank, before cutting into the box in the 10thminute. Splitting two Impact defenders, Alexander fired home a left-footer from just inside the box that beat Perkins to his right.
Thierry Henry, from the six-yard box, doubled the Red Bulls lead six minutes later when he tapped home a Fabian Espindola cross from the right flank to score his 7th career goal versus the Impact.
Australian international Tim Cahill found a third marker for the home side in the 63rd minute when he hammered a diving header near the six-yard-box off of a corner kick taken by Henry.
Second half substitution Peguy Luyindula converted on a penalty kick in the 88th minute after midfielder Lloyd Sam was taken down in the box.
A few changes were made to the starting lineup from last weekend’s matchup as team captain Davy Arnaud found himself back in the starting Xl, only his second start since returning from his concussion, and Justin Mapp made his first start since June 15 against Columbus.
Brazilian midfielder Felipe missed his first game of the season after suffering a knock in training this past week, while Sanna Nyassi was serving a one-game suspension.
“This wasn’t a good game tonight, but we played better in the second half with more character," said Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum. It’s not easy being in first place and even more difficult to remain on top. We’ll need to work and return to the basics.”
“We must forget that we are first and work just like we did at the start of the season," added Marco Di Vaio. We hope that it will be the solution to find our winning ways again.”
“We must not panic," said Davy Arnaud. There are tough times in a season. We must come back stronger in our next game. We are still in a great place in the standings, but we need to find a way to win and allow fewer goals.”
Alexander came close to scoring his second of the game when he took advantage of some space down the heart of midfield, but his shot from just outside the box rang off the crossbar in the 32nd minute.
The Impact came out in the second half with conviction. Justin Mapp missed just wide left of goal as he cut towards centre and fired a low shot from the top of the box in the 48th minute when Daniele Paponi lured two Red Bulls players away from him.
Two minutes later, Di Vaio fired one from distance, but Red Bulls keeper Luis Robles punched away his 30-yard drive, diving to his right.
Patrice Bernier fired one from distance in the 72nd minute that forced Robles into another save diving to his right to push the ball out for a corner.
Cahill hit the cross bar, a second for the Red Bulls in the game,with a header from close range after Henry dribbled into the box and played a cross far post in the 83rd minute.
Both teams will meet in an MLS Reserve League match, tomorrow morning (Sunday) at 11am, at the Red Bulls training center.
The Impact will then play its next game at Stade Saputo versus FC Dallas on Saturday, July 20, at 7pm (ET).
MTL – GK-Troy Perkins; D-Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta, Jeb Brovsky; M-Justin Mapp, Davy Arnaud (Andrea Pisanu 77’), Patrice Bernier, Andrés Romero (Blake Smith 36’); F-Daniele Paponi, Marco Di Vaio (Andrew Wenger 85’)
Subs not used: GK-Evan Bush; D-Dennis Iapichino; M-Wandrille Lefèvre, Collen Warner
NY – GK-Luis Robles; D-Kosuke Kimura, Brandon Barklage, Jamison Olave, Markus Holgersson; M-Jonathan Steele, Tim Cahill (Michael Bustamante 89’), Eric Alexander (Lloyd Sam 74’), Dax McCarthy; F-Thierry Henry, Fabian Espindola (PéguyLuyindola 78’)
Subs not used: GK-Ryan Meara; D-Connor Lade, Matt Miazga; F-Andre Akpan
NY – Alexander (Henry) 10’
NY – Henry (Espindola, Barklage) 16’
NY – Cahill (Henry) 63’
NY – Luyindula (PK) 88’
MTL – Arnaud 45+’
NY – Olave 46’
MTL – Ferrari 60’