The Montreal Impact was desperate for a positive result in MLS and thanked 18068 fans at Stade Saputo with an electrifying performance. Goals from Andres Romero and Jack McInerney were enough to blank the Eastern Conference leaders, the New England Revolution.
Playing alongside Marco Di Vaio, McInerney was rewarded for his efforts since joining the Impact with a goal. But the story of the game was all around the wingers of Montreal : Andres Romero and Issey Nakajima-Farran. On one side of the pitch, Romero is starting to fulfill the potential that sporting director, Nick De Santis, has seen in him. His goal was a beautiful one from beginning to end.
On the other side, ex-Toronto FC and Canadian International, Issey, was fast, intense and strong for 90 minutes. He brought pace, skills and depth to a position only Justin Mapp knew how to play in.
With Mapp and Patrice Bernier on the bench, the team continued to stave off New England's attacks during the game and rewarded Troy Perkins with his 50th career shutout.
Montreal can sweeten the week with a win against Toronto FC in mid-week to claim the bragging rights as the 2014 Canadian Champions and hoist the Voyageurs Cup at Stade Saputo.
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'
HEAD COACH FRANK KLOPAS
On the game...
I'm really proud of my players. 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. We played some really good soccer in the first half. Then when we had the 2-0 lead, we dropped off a little, but overall the 90 minutes was a good performance. Now we go to work to try and win the Canadian Cup. The chances we created were through buildup and movement. It wasn't luck. The performance was good, but it could always get better. This isn't a team that should be where it's at right now, it's better than that.
On Issey Nakajima-Farran's first start for the Impact...
His work rate is excellent always, we knew we were getting a player who could help us ion the final third. He has very good ideas, and good movement. He's an easy player to play with. Each day with the team, he grows in confidence and we needed to push him today because he won't be available Wednesday.
On adjustment made to defend against first place Revs...
We wanted to force the ball wide. I knew that with Dorman coming, deep we'd be at a disadvantage 3v2, we let our forwards stay a little more compact, we dropped off a little bit to force the ball out wide. We knew they would be very direct out of the back and it was up to us to track runners. They do a good job with Fagundez with the diagonal runs. It was a big game for Bernardello and Felipe to counter Lee Nguyen in the midfield.
On his first start for the Impact...
It was a really good first start for me. 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. If I scored, it would have been perfect. There was no lack of intensity on this night.
On chemistry clicking so quickly...
I was a little surprised of the chemistry we all had. I felt really comfortable out there. Usually it takes a good five or six game. Everybody was playing simple and the ball was zipping around. The quality I see on this team is great, with guys playing at a high level all over the world.
On playing the 4-4-2...
I felt confident and excited to play the 4-4-2 with Marco, I wanted to show that this formation would work. Getting on the score sheet was a bonus. It's not easy to play this formation with five midfielders, it's a lot of work for the strikers, but we shut them down in the first half.
On the team's recent form...
The work we've put in the last couple of weeks is really starting to show. 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 and then still plenty of games this season to get things going. We'll look at the video and fix some things and move forward.
Head Coach Jay Heaps
On the team's performance
"We were outplayed in the first half. You got to credit the other team because they came out flying, so I don't want to take away from what they were able to do. I thought they were spot in the first half."
On New England's slow start
"In this league, you can't give a team anything. Unfortunately we gave quite a bit away to Montreal and they took it. Teams give away things all the time, but sometimes they don't take advantage. I thought Montreal did an excellent job of taking advantage of our slow start."
On his side's lack of technical quality
"It was one of those nights where every pass was a little bit off. It just didn't have the same zip to it. To break a team down you got to get things to go your way a little bit, but you got to credit a team when they do a nice job."
On his side's overall performance
"Full credit to Montreal, they were better than us today. I think the game was decided in the first 15-20 minutes. They were better than us in that period and got the goal. I think we had chances in the game, but obviously didn't take them."
On conceding early on the road
"The start of any away game is so important. To give up that goal, their fans got going, it gave their team a lift and put us on the back foot."
On the game
"It's tough after the run we've been on, but Montreal came out, played a good game and made it frustrating for us to try and get chances. Props to them, they did well tonight."
On finding it tough to break the Impact down
"Their midfielders and their center backs did a great job of containing the middle. It was just unfortunate that we went down two-zero, so they were able to compact the box and make it difficult for us."