At the end of Montreal’s season-opening, six-game, road-streak most would conclude it’s been a success. The 8 point haul represents only three less than they won across all 17 road games in 2018.
The Impact has only ever bettered 8 points from its first 6 MLS road games once, in 2013 (10 points). A win in their home opener over Columbus, Saturday, will increase optimism for the rest of the season.
Remi Garde and his staff can feel much more content after a second solid performance since the drubbing in Kansas City. It was not pretty here or in New York, but Montreal has now avoided defeat on the road at two major Conference rivals in DC United and NYCFC.
It could’ve been better this evening had Zachary Brault-Guillard converted on 53 mins, after a strong run and combination with Clement Bayiha, two young players having their first start for IMFC. Brault-Guillard forced Hamid to save to his right, the DC ‘keeper pushing the ball away for a corner.
Montreal had precious few opportunities this apart, but Brault-Guillard can feel pleased with a solid showing against the much more experienced US-international, Paul Arriola. He may now cause his mentor, Bacary Sagna, to glance over his shoulder a time or two. The former Lyonnais reserve team captain certainly looks a prospect.
For their part DC United were made look very ordinary. They looked more like the pre-Rooney DCU, than the post-Rooney version. It seems that more than one Eastern Conference outfit has problems offensively when missing its star player.
The main threat expected to come from play-maker, Luciano Acosta, failed to materialize. Perhaps the little Argentine was missing the former Manchester United man too. Or perhaps this half of the Lu-Roo combination has become unsettled by all the lively transfer-talk surrounding his future.
Although not looking like the player from the latter half of 2018, he probably he set up DC’s best chance, playing an inviting, curling, ball into the danger area from a set-piece. Segura, isolated up front for much of the game, failed to connect, and the chance was gone.
The very young Impact side knocked the ball around confidently, if not so much in the danger areas, and never at any stage looked under too much pressure from their more experienced hosts. This was probably as comfortable a road shut-out as Evan Bush can ever remember.
Apart from Brault-Guillard, Choiniere on the left was spirited, energetic and willing, and Clement Bayiha solid on the opposite side. While eyebrows may have been raised when the teams were announced, Remi Garde has now blooded some new faces successfully, and managed to give game time to a few other peripheral figures. The squad all-round should be better for it.
Although the Montreal coach still needs to find a way to win away without Piatti, tonight’s was a valuable exercise and a very good road point earned.
DCU - Hamid - Jara (Robinson, 90), Brilliant, Birnbaum, McCann (Rodriguez, 56) - Canouse, Moreno - Streber (Amarikwa, 64), Acosta, Arriola - Segura
IMFC - Bush - Brault-Guillard, Cabrera, Diallo, Lovitz - Piette, Shome, Taider (Azira, 80) - Bayiha, Jackson-Hamel (Okwonkwo, 80), Choiniere (Novillo, 84).
Referee: Chris Penso
Asst refs: Philippe Briere, Claudiu Badea
VAR: Silviu Petrescu