TORONTO, Ontario – On a chilly and windy afternoon in Toronto, the Montreal Impact ended all hopes of Toronto FC’s first ever playoff appearance when Brazilian midfielder Felipe scored the game equalizer in a 1-1 draw Saturday at BMO Field.
The game’s first 20 minutes seemed to be a feeling-out process, but once both sides got used to the gusty conditions, things opened up on both ends.
TFC opened the scoring at this point on a bit of a broken play when Matteo Ferrari slid to block an attempt from the right of the box by Gilberto, but the deflection was skied over to the opposite side where Warren Creavalle one timed the ball as it dropped, curling it low to the opposite side of Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush.
IMFC responded well after the goal, winning over 60% of its duels in the first half before finding the equalizer in the 39thminute. Patrice Bernier switched the ball over the backline from the right flank, finding Andres Romero on the run. The Argentine did well to bring the ball down, maintain possession, and played Felipe at the top of the box. The Brazilian made no mistake, going upper 90 with his shot to tie things up.
“I thought we dominated the play, especially in the second half,” said Impact head coach Frank Klopas. “We forced the ball a little and didn’t have a good possession in the first half, but the second half was fantastic. Overall, we had the game under control and created a lot of chances. It was an exciting game and a great display in front of many fans that came down here.”
“Obviously, we wanted the three points today, but it does feel like a win,” said Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush. “We got the result we needed to knock them out and we’re happy about it. For about 25 minutes in the second half, I thought we played our best soccer this year.”
“It was great to see the whole team willing to throw the body, that kind of battle and will to win this game," added defender Heath Pearce, who will miss the Impact's last regular season game following his ejection near the end of the game. “It was a very physical game from the start of it and both teams were pushing for the goal, but 11 players went all out on the field today.”
Four minutes prior to the equalizer, the bleu-blanc-noir sidestepped going down by two goals when Ferrari cleared a ball destined for the goal with his head.
The second half was largely tilted in favour of the Impact, with the best chance falling to Jack McInerney who hit the crossbar. Felipe then blasted one from just inside the 18, but TFC keeper Joe Bendik parlayed the ball to his left.
Marco Di Vaio then had a chance to put the final nail in Toronto’s coffin when he was sent in alone by Nakajima-Farranin extra time, but Bendik made a diving save to his right.
Things got a little heated in the dying seconds when Jonathan Osorio was also shown a straight red after a dirty foul on Felipe near the corner flag, before Camara was sent off after he was shown his second yellow of the game.
The Montreal Impact travels to New York this week to take on the New York Red Bulls in its final match of the CONCACAF Champions League group stage this Wednesday at 8pm, before returning home for its season finale at Stade Saputo this Saturday, at 4pm against D.C. United for the final matchup of Marco Di Vaio’s illustrious career.
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Hassoun Camara, Heath Pearce, Matteo Ferrari, Eric Miller; M-Calum Mallace, Patrice Bernier, Andrés Romero (Maxim Tissot 82’), Dilly Duka (IsseyNakajima-Farran 73’), Felipe; F-Jack McInerney (Marco Di Vaio 79’)
Subs not used: GK-Maxime Crépeau; D-Futty Danso, KrzysztofKrol; M-Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé
TOR – GK-Joe Bendik; D-Mark Bloom (Dominic Oduro 80’), Steven Caldwell, Doneil Henry, Justin Morrow; M-Jackson, Collen Warner (Kyle Bekker 68’), Warren Creavalle (Dwayne De Rosario 57’), Jonathan Osorio; F-Luke Moore, Gilberto
Subs not used: GK-Chris Konopka; D-Bradley Orr, AshtoneMorgan; M-Daniel Lovitz
TOR – Creavalle 20’
MTL – Felipe (Romero, Bernier) 39’
MTL – Camara 5’
MTL – Ferrari 55’
TOR – Jackson 88’
MTL – Bush 90’
TOR – Bendik 90+4’
TOR – De Rosario 90+5’
MTL – Pearce 82’
TOR – Osorio 90+3’
MTL – Camara 90+5’ (second caution)