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Impact Dulls “Lights”

Win for new coach in first pre-season outing . . . .

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Montreal Impact
Salazar claimed the opening goal within seconds of coming on.
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas Lights 0-2 Montreal Impact (Salazar 64, Huiqui og 66)

Remi Garde will not have learnt too much about his team in last night’s exhibition pre-season opener in Vegas.

hese games are rarely good benchmarks, however one thing, the lack of firepower up-front, will not have gone unnoticed by the Montreal coach. Impact started with Mancosu up top, with Piatti, Vargas and Edwards in support.

MLS: New England Revolution at Montreal Impact
Matteo Mancosu started the game up front for Montreal
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Despite always looking in control, chances were at a premium for the visitors, who needed three amateurish goal-keeping errors to secure the victory. Ricardo Ferrino in the Las Vegas goal, might have looked better in a Las Vegas show, on the night. Resplendent in pink, he set himself up as the archetypal sweeper/keeper, but overdid the performance.

If he was effective and entertaining in the first half of the game, his unorthodox antics, loved by the crowd of 10,387 it must be noted, always looked like an accident waiting to happen.

And happen it did. All in five crazy, second-half, minutes.

Within a minute of Montreal making several substitutions, introducing Salazar, Raitala, Duvall, Donadel and a few Academy players on 63 mins, the home net-minder finally came unstuck. In a mix-up with one of his defensive colleagues near the edge of the box, the ball broke invitingly to Salazar, who effortlessly rolled it into the net for Montreal’s first score of the 2018 season. Michael couldn’t believe his luck, immediately after entering the fray.

Two minutes later Ferrino was at it again. Trying to be too clever with ball at feet, his botched clearance forcefully struck his best defender Huiqui and flew back past him and into the net.

Even at that, the Ferrino show still hadn’t reached its finale. On 68 mins, as last man in defense the Mexican ‘keeper tried to dribble past two white shirts, losing out to David Choiniere, whom he pulled back, preventing a third goal. That bright pink uniform seemed only to highlight the madness, as Ferrino ran from the field without waiting for the inevitable red card to appear.

Before the goals, Las Vegas had begun to control the tempo, with Montreal looking a little less interested after the half-time break.

The home side’s high pressing game in the first half, part of a busy and frenetic display, didn’t make things easy for their more illustrious opponents, yet Montreal still looked relaxed and at ease. Only once in that opening 45 did they look vulnerable, Diallo’s weak defensive header allowing for some home excitement, but Alvarez lacked composure and his hurried finish sailed over the goal.

In a first-half containing plenty of effort and endeavor, by a keen home side, four players saw yellow; Huiqui (handball) and Alex Mendoza (foul) from Las Vegas, and Mancosu (not retreating 10 yards) and Lovitz (foul) from Montreal.

Taider had the best chances for Montreal, missing his kick from inside the box after Edwards’ had steered the ball in his direction, and then sending a well-struck shot from around 20 yards, which Ferrino dealt with nonchalantly.

The goals, when they eventually came, effectively ended the game as a contest, although ex-Seattle Sounder, Sammy Ochea did cause a problem during one Vegas raid, with his aerial ability. It took a very good Cabrera block to avert the danger.

The Montreal coaching staff will see this evening as a further bonding exercise. They will have noted the lack of cutting edge; Mancosu had a chance to open the scoring early in the second-half, but failed to convert when one on one with Ferrino in goal. They will also have seen Victor Cabrera perform solidly at the back.

MLS: 2017 Portraits
Cabrera - solid game in defence.
USA TODAY Sports

Petrasso, Krolicki and Edwards, all starters had quiet introductions. Taider, of whom the expectancy level is high, showed signs that he can be a valuable asset in the season ahead, and Vargas displayed some silky touches, without really influencing events much.

Diop and Choiniere replaced Bush and Edwards straight after the interval, and a host of replacements arrived in the second-half. Thomas Meilleur-Giguere, the new arrival from Ottawa Fury, was also given a run with 10 mins left on the clock.

Montreal’s starting XI was -

Bush - Petrasso, Diallo, Cabrera, Lovitz – Taider, Krolicki – Piatti, Vargas, Edwards – Mancosu.