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Impact Prevail in Battle of Depleted Sides.

Montreal benefit most from missing stars, as Sounders Fall Again ... Impact ... 2. Sounders ... 1

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Montreal Impact
Taider leads the charge back to the centre line after converting the equalizer in the 74th minute.
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Impact claimed all three points from a scrappy game of low quality, which really only served to underline the folly of not postponing games for clubs affected by players on international duty.

Both sides were forced into several changes due to international call-ups. The league really needs to re-think this for next season. Fans also voted with their feet, barely 13,000 bothering to turn up.

There was nothing to write home about during a sterile first 45, although poor decision-making from Browne may have prevented the half’s only shot on target. The Panamanian dribbled on despite a shooting chance presenting itself, and the chance soon disappeared.

That apart Montreal had the only two shots of the first half, each off target.

Maxi Urriti should’ve put the home side in front on the hour mark after good work by Krolicki, restored to the side after his elbow injury, and the excellent Shome. Frei however was equal to the Argentinian front man’s snap shot from the centre of goal, and a gilt-edged opportunity for Urruti’s first Impact goal from open play was lost.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Montreal Impact
Urruti faces Seattle’s Jonathan Campbell. The Argentinian should’ve opened the scoring in the 60th minute, but seen his goal bound effort saved by Frei.
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Only four minutes later, Seattle, who’d looked up to then content to retain parity, were gifted a spot-kick after Cabrera's wild swipe felled former team-mate Harry Shipp In the box. Rodriguez converted high into the top corner past Bush’s left hand.

After recent performances, not many would have bet on Montreal possessing what it needed to get back into the game, let alone win it, but Saphir Taider clearly had other ideas.

Ten minutes after his side fell behind, the Algerian took down a ball from Browne, advanced into the area taking on Leerdam, who bought Taider’s step-over before bringing him down.

The award of the penalty was as clear cut and as obvious as the previous one had been. Taider picked himself up, dusted down and sent Frei the wrong way - 1-1.

Four minutes later, amazingly the Impact were in front. Urruti in possession on the right hand side, back to goal, slipped a short pass to Browne who appeared to shoot, his effort miscuing off-target straight to Taider unmarked and free, 8 yards out. The Algerian, who could’ve been yet another absentee on the night had his national team selected him for AFCON, side-footed high into the net past Frei a second time.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Montreal Impact
Impact players celebrate Taider’s winning goal in the 78th minute.
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle were unable to get back into the game, the Impact holding on for the last 12 minutes plus stoppage-time to claim three very valuable points.

The win secures third place in the East, albeit temporarily, for the Impact, who’ve played more games than the sides around them. Seattle remain third in the West.

With so many changes to both teams, there was always the chance of an upset, and last evening that’s what transpired.

One must however question the league’s decision to stage matches when so many players are unavailable for selection. Such scenarios skew the purity of the championship and do little to reinforce its credibility. And ... neither side could even name its full complement of 18 squad players last night. You have to ask yourself, would this happen in Europe?

Line-ups -

IMFC: Bush - Cabrera, Diallo, Camacho - Shome, Krolicki, Azira, Kinumbe (Novillo, 67) - Browne (Jackson-Hamel, 85) Urruti, Taider.

SOUNDERS: Frei - Leerdam, Abdul-Salaam, Campbell, Tolo - Delem, Shipp - Roldan (Leyva, 82), Rodriguez (Wingo, 95), Bwane (Jones, 54) - Bruin.

Referee: Nina Saghafi

Asst Ref’s: Nick Uranga, Chris Wattam

Fourth Official: Lukasz Szpala

VAR Ref: Guido Gonzales Jnr

Again, I would like to acknowledge the help and assistance provided by my colleague, Hady Raphael of CultureSoccer.com (@MLSenFolie) in compiling this report.