MONTREAL – Another game for the Montreal Impact and another night full of challenges, but this time, the bleu-blanc-noir dug deep and pulled out a 1-0 shutout victory over C.D. FAS at Stade Saputo on Tuesday in the opening game of the CONCACAF Champions League, despite playing the final 25 minutes with only 10-men.
“Getting the three points in front of our fans was really important for us tonight,” explained defender Hassoun Camara. “When we have cohesion and everyone plays together, we can really make a lot happen, even when games are hard. We were hearing the fans from the beginning and that helped us to stay motivated throughout the game.”
“We’ve been waiting for this win for a long time, so it definitely helped our confidence,” added Maxim Tissot. “It took off a bit of the pressure we had, so hopefully we can bring this win to our regular season games and help us in our next CONCACAF game. We grinded the game out, with one man down at the end of the game and that’s what’s important.”
IMFC dominated the first half with four shots on goal, but goalkeeper Luis Contreras was sharp, especially on a back-to-back opportunity for midfielder Andres Romero in the 19th minute, including one from point blank range.
However, two minutes later, striker Marco Di Vaio scored the game-winner with a soft header to the opposite after he was played in behind the defence by Felipe with long chip over the backline.
The home side continued to control the game at the start of the second half, finding two good chances in the first three minutes of play, but Contreras was a standout once again.
Things turned in the 75th minute when Impact defender Hassoun Camara was given a red card for a sliding challenge that put the home team down a man. Then head coach Frank Klopas was ejected for leaving his coach’s box a few minutes later.
But despite the setback, the bleu-blanc-noir closed the game out with solid defensive play. Goalkeeper Evan Bush earned his third career shutout in the tournament.
“I felt very good about the performance of the group,” said head coach Frank Klopas. “We had some chances in the first and even the second half to put the game away. Then even shorthanded, I found we stayed focused. If we look at some previous games during the season, we had some mental lapses, so I’m very happy that didn’t happen tonight.”
With the win, the Impact remains undefeated at home in CCL play with a 6-0-2 record since 2008.
The Impact will play its next Champions League game on August 20, in El Salvador, but before that, the bleu-blanc-noir will travel to Philadelphia to take on the Union at 7pm EDT (TVA Sports, TSNRadio690).
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Karl W. Ouimette, Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Krzysztof Krol; M-Gorka Larrea, Felipe (Wandrille Lefèvre 78’), Andrés Romero, Dilly Duka (Patrice Bernier 63’), Justin Mapp (Maxim Tissot 69’); F-Marco Di Vaio
Subs not used: GK-Troy Perkins; M-Issey Nakajima-Farran; F-Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Jack McInerney
FAS – GK-Luis Contreras; Xavi Garcia, Raul Renderos, Jorge Moran (Dony Valle 78’), Marcio Teruel (Jonathan Joya 62’), Alex Mendoza, Juan Carlos Moscoso, Carlos Aparicio, Elder Figueroa, Lester Blanco, Gonzalo Mazzia
Subs not used: Carlos Carrillo
MTL – Di Vaio (Felipe) 21’
MTL – Larrea 30’
FAS – Blanco 43’
MTL – Krol 53’
MTL – Di Vaio 77’
FAS – Mendoza 77’
MTL – Camara 72’