On Wednesday night the Impact dropped their second match in a row against Eastern Conference leaders, the New York Red Bulls. The Impact came into the game in the precarious position of being in the sixth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference. With games in hand running out and Montreal travelling to Colorado on Saturday, the match against the Rapids has become a critical one for the Impact to win if they hope to qualify for the 2015 MLS playoffs.
"We started the game on our heels and when you do that, you risk things and we ended up with a red card" - Mauro Biello
The Impact have looked composed and prepared for matches under interim manager Mauro Biello, since the firing of Frank Klopas. However the start to the match at Red Bull Arena quickly turned into a disaster. In the 15th-minute Cameroonian International, Ambroise Oyongo saw a red card after handling a ball that was going into the net. With the Impact down to ten players, Sacha Kljestan stepped up to convert the penalty making the score 1-0 Red Bulls.
Just over ten minutes later New York found themselves in a position to finish off the Bleu-Blanc-Noir with another penalty shot after Donny Toia brought down Lloyd Sam in the penalty area. With the Impact unravelling Evan Bush came up with an impressive save on Kljestan denying the Red Bulls a two goal advantage.
Lloyd Sam Does it Himself:
"Playing against a team like the Red Bulls a man down is tough" - Dominic Oduro
Although Kljestan failed to convert his second penalty attempt won by Lloyd Sam, the Englishman took matters into his own hands in the 39th-minute scoring the games decisive goal. After Impact keeper Evan Bush came out of his net to challenge the Red Bull attack, the ball fell back to Sam who chipped it over a hapless Bush and into the back of the net. With Montreal down two goals and a player going into the half it was always going to be a tough test for a team fighting for its playoff life.
Impact Show Some Fight:
"We worked better in the second half and we tried to create some things, but it was difficult" - Patrice Bernier
Although coming back from two goals was never going to be easy the Impact came out for the second half and showed some life. With Camara, Mallace, and Bernier all entering the match in the second half Montreal looked more confident in their defending and even generated a few offensive chances. In the 68th-minute the Impact were granted a penalty shot of their own. After a free kick was sent into the attacking box, both Hassoun Camara and Donny Toia were brought down. Didier Drogba expertly finished off the penalty marking his eighth goal of the season. As the game progressed the final twenty minutes were like a train out of control. The Red Bulls hit the post twice and Dominic Oduro missed a golden opportunity late in the match. When the dust settled Montreal was on the losing end of a 2-1 result in a wild match.
The Impact continue their push for the playoffs on Saturday evening as they travel to Colorado to take on the Rapids. With their games in hand on Orlando down to one, the pressure is mounting on the sixth place team in the East. If there was ever a time to win a big game on the road Saturday is it. Marco Donadel will be suspended yet again due to yellow card accumulation so the Impact will be forced to shuffle their midfield yet again. On a positive note it appears that Ignacio Piatti should be back in the squad this weekend. It's now or never for the Impact.
Quotes and Game Statistics Courtesy of the Montreal Impact:
MTL - GK-Evan Bush; D-Donny Toia, Laurent Ciman, Victor Cabrera, Ambroise Oyongo; M-Nigel Reo-Coker (Hassoun Camara 46'), Eric Alexander (Calum Mallace 55'), Marco Donadel (Patrice Bernier 65'), Dilly Duka, Dominic Oduro; F-Didier Drogba
Subs not used: GK-Eric Kronberg; D-Maxim Tissot; M-Andrés Romero; F-Romario Williams
NYRB - GK-Luis Robles; D-Connor Lade, Damien Perrinelle, Ronald Zubar, Sal Zizzo; M-Dax MacCarty, Felipe (Sean Davis 46'), Lloyd Sam (Gonzalo Veron 84'), Mike Grella (Shaun Wright-Phillips 61'), Sacha Kjlestan; F-Bradley Wright-Phillips
Subs not used: GK-Kyle Reynish; M-Karl W. Ouimette, Kemar Lawrence; M-Anthony Wallace
NY - Kljestan (PK) 16'
NY - Sam 39'
MTL - Drogba (PK) 68'
MTL - Donadel 27'
MTL - Toia 30'
NY - Zubar 67'
MTL - Bernier 71'
NY - Lade 76'
NY - Zizzo 89'
MTL - Oyongo 15'