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Thorn in Their Side

Why new Argentine striker, Maxi Urruti has been a thorn in Impact’s side …

MLS: Orlando City SC at FC Dallas
Maximiliano Urruti arrives in Montreal looking for goals.
Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve faced a player five times and lost every time, maybe it’s a good idea to be happy he’s joined your team. Since the horrible 2014 season, Max Urruti has been a bundle of trouble for Impact defences whether in the green of Portland or in the red of Dallas.

Impact’s first meeting with the Argentine, saw him equalise an Andres Romero opener at Stade Saputo, via the inside of Evan Bush’s post. Timbers went on to record a 3-2 success. Urruti had given Heath Pearce a pretty torrid time that evening and was indeed unlucky not to receive a penalty decision when the American pulled him back.

The following year, Portland were back at the venue, but Urruti’s contribution was limited to a cameo appearance only entering the fray in minute 87, as the Timbers won again (2-1), thus condemning Impact to a tenth successive MLS game without a win.

Three Wins with Dallas

Urruti’s next three successes over Montreal came in the colours of FC Dallas and in each he had a notable part to play. In the first of those, late in the game, he reached a ‘route-one’ ball ahead of Laurent Ciman and volleyed a wonderful goal from 18 yards past Evan Bush to seal the points for Dallas (2-0).

Urruti’s fourth victory over the Impact, and third at Stade Saputo came in July 2017, FCD turning over a half-time deficit to win 2-1. Impact fans may remember this game still being deadlocked when Daniel Lovitz headed Cristian Colman’s shot out of goal from several feet behind the line – no goal awarded and no goal-line technology in those days! Indeed, the Dallas man should’ve had a hat-trick, as he did score both his side’s goals in a 2-1 win, the first brilliantly assisted by Urruti’s low ball across the goal from wide left.

Camacho Clash

The Argentinian neither scored nor assisted in Impact’s most recent defeat to FC Dallas, 0-2, at Toyota Stadium last June, but he was involved in the clash with Rudy Camacho that resulted in Nima Saghafi awarding a 16thmin pk to Dallas (converted by Mauro Diaz).

SuperLiga & MLS

So, what was Urruti doing when he wasn’t causing problems for the Montrealers?

FC Dallas v Portland Timbers
Urruti won MLS Cup during his time with Portland Timbers. Here he is seen celebrating a goal against FC Dallas.
Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Well, he’s had a crack at the Argentinian SuperLiga with Newell’s Old Boys, playing under Gerardo Martino. The 2013 Final was lost to Velez Sarsfield (0-1), but Urruti was part of the squad which won the Torneo Inicial, qualifying Newell’s for that SuperLiga Final. The team’s success also provided a pathway to 6 appearances in the Copa Libertadores.

In his last two seasons in Argentina, Max managed 12 goals in 31 starts, although Martino preferred to use him as a substitute, indeed no fewer than 22 times Urruti came off the bench to see action.

Mexico National Team Unveils New Coach Gerardo Martino
Urruti played under Gerardo Martino, earlier in his career at Newell’s Old Boys.
Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

It was Toronto FC who first acquired his services in MLS, but his stay was short-lived before moving on to Portland, where he appeared late on in Timbers’ 2-1 victory at Columbus Crew in the 2015 MLS Cup Final.

Winner Again!

Urruti claimed a second North American title when contributing a brace of goals in the 2016 US Open Cup Final, a 4-2 win for his third MLS club, FC Dallas, over New England.

MLS: Houston Dynamo at FC Dallas
Urruti was also a winner with FC Dallas. US Open Cup success in 2016 followed the MLS Cup win. Here Max is seen using his upper body strength to hold off Adam Lundqvist of Houston, last season.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In all, Montreal’s new #37 has a broad spectrum of experience. 172 games in MLS, including a minimum 30 appearances in each of the last five seasons, 57 appearances in Argentinian SuperLiga, 13 in domestic cups and 17 in international club competitions. His goal haul throughout all of that, stands at 68.

He’s a strong central striker, something his new fans have not had the luxury of since the departure of Didier Drogba. He can hold the ball up, has the composure to bring others into the play, and is no stranger to finding the net himself.

Montreal awaits, and expects …… and is probably more than a little relieved at not having to face the 6 foot Argentine again, this season.