MONTREAL - The Montreal Impact came out with purpose on Saturday night at Stade Saputo, scoring two goals in the first half for the first time this season, on its way to a 2-0 shutout victory over the best team in the Eastern Conference, the New England Revolution.
“I’m really proud of my players,” said head coach Frank Klopas. “We had a really good performance. The attitude was there tonight and overall, the whole 90 minutes was great. I give all the credit to my players, but this is only the first step. We still have a lot of work to do.”
It took the home side just two minutes and 10 seconds to penetrate the Revs defence with a dynamic play, which set the tone for an opening half that saw the bleu-blanc-noir outshoot its opponents 12-5. Forward Jack McInerney, deep down the right flank, played a back-heel to midfielder Andres Romero towards the box. The Argentine used a give-and-go with Italian striker Marco Di Vaio to get in behind the backline before putting his final touch from in close to the far post.
Newcomer Issey Nakajima-Farran made his presence felt in his first start for the Impact, especially in the 38th minute. Dribbling down the left flank, the Canadian international cut towards midfield and fired a low shot from long distance that keeper Bobby Shuttlesworth bobbled before McInerney pounced on the rebound to double the Impact’s lead.
“It was a really good first start for me,” said Nakajima-Farran. “The guys were great tonight. We have so much quality on the field and tonight, I think we showed it. But it’s a stepping stone for us. I was a little surprised at the chemistry we all had. I felt really comfortable out there.”
The Impact spent the rest of the game neutralizing the Revs midfield, limiting the road team’s chances in the final third and closing down the ball each time the Revs pushed forward, helping Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins earn his 50th career shutout.
The Impact went with a two-striker formation, one that worked well in the second half against Toronto last Wednesday.
“I felt confident and excited to play the 4-4-2 with Marco and getting on the score sheet was a bonus. The work we’ve put in the last couple of weeks is really starting to show,” explained McInerney. “We have a chance on Wednesday to win the Canadian Cup, and after a few good games, things are definitely going in the right direction.”
The Impact hosts Toronto FC in the decisive game of the Amway Canadian Championship final series on Wednesday, June 4, at 7:30pm ET at Stade Saputo. The bleu-blanc-noir could win the tournament for the first time on home soil.
MTL – GK-Troy Perkins; D-Karl W. Ouimette, Heath Pearce, Wandrille Lefèvre, Hassoun Camara; M- Hernan Bernardello, Andrés Romero (Justin Mapp 67’), Felipe (Patrice Bernier 85’), Issey Nakajima-Farran; F-Jack McInerney (Santiago Gonzalez 83’), Marco Di Vaio
Subs not used: GK-Evan Bush; D-Jeb Brovsky, Maxim Tissot; M-Calum Mallace
NE – GK-Bobby Shuttleworth; D-Chris Tierney (Steve Neumann 77’), José Goncalves, Andrew Farrell, A. J. Soares; M-Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen, Amdy Dorman, Kelyn Rowe (Daigo Kobayashi 62’); F-Patrick Mullins, Teal Bunbury
Subs not used: GK-Brad Knighton; D-Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes; M-Scott Caldwell; F-Dimitry Imbongo
MTL – Romero (Di Vaio) 3’
MTL – McInerney 38’
NE – Dorman 40’
MTL – Felipe 63’
NE – Bunbury 76’