Throwback Impact – May 14-20

May 14, 1993

This is where it all begins. After months of preparation, the Montreal Impact finally plays its first-ever competitive game, on a Friday night in Los Angeles against the Salsa. Eager to get going, the Bleu-blanc-noir tallies only four minutes in. Defender Dino Lopez has the honour of scoring the first goal in club history, after a cross by Marco Rizi. “Defender Rizi,” reports the Canadian Press, “placed the ball in front of the net, and Lopez finished the play with a header that beat goalkeeper [Ian] Feuer.” Another defender, Patrice Ferri, burns the home team in the 80th minute, but the game is decided in a shootout after a 2-2 tie. No luck: forward Harut Karapetyan lifts the Salsa to a win. Still, the Impact’s great journey is underway.

May 17, 1996

That night, the 2,617 soccer fans at Atlanta’s Davis Field are witnesses to old-time hockey, like Eddie Shore. This season opener against the Ruckus, reports Ronald King in La Presse, “opened with a long, violent altercation involving both coaches and players from both teams.” Midfielder Ian Carter has to undergo a medical examination upon landing in Montreal, the next day, as severe bruising appears on his thigh after a fierce kick from Caleb Suri. The aggressor only gets a yellow card, and “if we hadn’t argued, there wouldn’t even have been a yellow,” says head coach Valerio Gazzola. Stung by the quarrelling, the Impact manages a wonderful 3-1 win against the Ruckus.

May 20, 2007

It’s the last home opener at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex, and the Bleu-blanc-noir does not disappoint. 10,143 fans see their team beat Seattle Sounders FC by a 2-0 score on a rainy and windy afternoon. The next year, the Impact is set to open the brand-new Stade Saputo. “There are a lot of memories here, but this is part of the evolution of a team,” says defender Gabriel Gervais. The only bad thing about this day – weather notwithstanding – is Mauro Biello suffering a muscle strain in his right thigh as he delivers the cross off of which Matt Palleschi opens the scoring.