Twenty year-old New Jerseyite, Mason Toye made his first start of the season in a Minnesota side without several key starters, and effectively sealed this game, his pair of goals trebling his MLS career total.
But Montreal were aggrieved by a couple of penalty decisions, which they felt heavily influenced the outcome. Even if they had a case, the Impact must still look at themselves for the nature of the goals conceded.
They contrived to lose a game that should have been won after going ahead not once, but twice, within the first 13 minutes. Minnesota has now won five on the bounce, scoring 20 goals in the process.
And despite, Toye’s equalizer being their first MLS road goal since April, it’s probably not so surprising, given their current penchant for goals, that we saw more this evening, than in any other game at Stade Saputo this season.
Anthony Jackson-Hamel set the ball rolling before many had even taken their seats. Restored to the side, the Impact #11 wasted no time latching onto Diallo’s clearance cum assist, evading Kallman a trite too easily, before planting the ball past Mannone’s right shoulder and into the net.
The goal was officially recorded as 27 seconds. For the Impact, only Andres Romero has ever scored a faster one, clocked at 22 seconds in a 3-3 draw at Toronto FC in July 2013.
The lead lasted only 8 minutes. Piette lost the ball in midfield, giving possession to Molino whose chip into the box allowed Toye to run between Diallo and Cabrera to volley past an on-rushing Bush. It was a sign of things to come. Montreal’s central defensive organization will have tidier nights than this one.
Yet optimism was restored quickly when Camacho steamed in at the far post to hammer home Taider’s corner on 13 mins. For the Frenchman, whose time at the Impact has not always been smooth running, it was rare moment of elation. His first goal for the club earned the mobbed celebration of team-mates. Montreal looked good value, they were bright, on the front foot and Taider went close again on 31 mins, bringing the best out of Mannone with a fierce drive.
The former Arsenal ‘keeper beat away the shot, and was fortunate the rebound eluded Shome in particular, and Diallo, who lingered menacingly.
Disaster was to strike for Montreal on 43 mins, a hopeful through ball from Olum, caught their defence square, allowing Finlay to run free. Bush came out and as the attacker moved to his right, the players collided. The Impact ‘keeper was adjudged the guilty party by referee, Alan Kelly who pointed to the spot. After consultation with VAR, the Irish referee confirmed his original decision, handing a yellow card to Bush.
Finlay, the fouled, despatched the penalty with ease, sending Bush the wrong way, as the half entered added time.
Within two minutes of the re-start more defensive frailty let the home side down. Molino was again the provider. At the end of his cross a perfect first touch by Toye rendered the rest easy for the youngster, who rolled the ball past Bush into goal. The goalscorer had already succeeded in putting space between himself and Cabrera, the Impact man caught hopelessly in ‘no man’s land’ by the flighted delivery.
The game’s second controversial moment arrived on 51 mins. Taider just outside the box on the left side attempted a cut-back, the ball coming into contact with Miiller’s trailing arm. Although a penalty decision would have been harsh, less obvious awards certainly were given during the Women’s World Cup. Fans must now wonder, ‘when is it a pk, and when is it not?’ Clarification required - Confusion reigns.
Mannone was again called into action following a good run across the edge of the box and shot from Browne, a 57th minute replacement for Diallo. This was an even better save than his previous from Taider, as he pushed the drive to the side and out for a corner.
But Minnesota were not yet done. A crucial headed clearance close to his own goal-line by Cabrera surely prevented Toye from completing his hat-trick on 69, while Molino should really have wrapped the game up on 84, side-footing wide when well-placed. It was a bad miss and the only blot on a fine performance from the midfielder.
In between these Schuller, sent a vicious volley wide, as the Impact left gaps as they chased the game.
For them, Browne looked most likely, hitting another 20-yarder, this time just over the cross-bar in added time, and as the game petered towards its conclusion, a deep Sagna cross troubled Mannone, who managed to turn it over for a final corner which proved fruitless.
It was young Mason Toye’s night, a poor one for Montreal’s central defensive trio, and an evening that once again underlines the need for positive recruitment activity during the open window. The head coach’s achievement this season has been in keeping his team up with the leading pack in the East, despite facing various challenges. If further progress is expected, a couple of quality additions are needed, or Stade Saputo may well miss out on post-season football for a third season in succession.
IMFC - Bush - Sagna, Cabrera, Diallo (Browne, 57), Camacho, Raitala - Piette (c), Shome - Choiniere (Novillo, 61), Jackson-Hamel (Urruti, 77), Taider.
Subs - Diop, Kinumbe, Urruti, Browne, Nivillo, Brault-Guillard, Krolicki.
Minnesota - Mannone - Miller, Kallman, Boxall (c), Gasper - Olum, Schuller - Finlay (Dotson, 70), Martin, Molino - Toye (Rodriguez).
Subs - Omsberg, Manley, Rodriguez, Dotson, Ibarra, St. Clair, Gregus.
Match Officials -
Referee - Alan Kelly
Asst Refs - Claudiu Badea, Gianni Facchini
4th Official - Pierre-Luc Lauziere
VAR - Chico Grajeda