Kei Kamara says he ‘loves Montreal’.
Why wouldn’t he? The Quebecers have rarely been able to shackle him in their meetings over the years. Of 96 MLS goals he’s scored since Montreal joined the league, the Sierra Leonean has found the back of the Impact net 14 times, three more than any other player.
Thirty-four now, there’s no sign of him slowing down the production rate, Montreal will just be glad they don’t have to face him again this season.
Yet it was less his brilliance and more of the Impact’s ineptitude on the night, that sealed a game that more resembled Sunday pub soccer than a display from two professional sides.
Kamara scored three, he might’ve had five! He even gave the Impact a leg up by gifting them the opening goal on 18 minutes, inexplicably planting a perfect striker’s header past Howard, his own goalkeeper!
But the visitors could only hold their fortunate ascendency for less than three minutes.
Evan Bush had a night to forget. He’s probably never had a worse one between the sticks. Had his error on the first goal been his only mistake it would still have been a bad night. But it got worse.
Bush knows more than anyone if you’re coming out to punch, you have to make it. Running into traffic, Raitala and Abubakar, and getting nowhere near is not an option. Raitala probably had the danger covered, but the collision allowed the ball to hit Kamara and run across goal, only for Bush to hook it in at the far post.
If there was a point in the game where Montreal could point to ill-luck, it was the award of the penalty, from which Colorado took the lead in the 34th minute. It looked like six of one, half a dozen of the other, but as Rubio and Shome came together, the Rapids man went down. After consulting the VAR screen, Mr De Olivera pointed to the spot.
It was now all about character and the visitors were found wanting. They reached the 45th minute still 1-2 down, but went into the locker-room three goals in arrears.
First Nicholson managed to get a ball into the area despite the attentions of Lovitz. The cross-cum-shot caught Bush out and rebounded from the far post. Brault-Guillard managed to blank Shinyashiki, but the loose ball ran to the unmarked Kamara who didn’t need a second invitation, despatching low into the corner. 3-1.
Rubio made it four, beating Bush to Price’s whipped-in cross, another one the goalkeeper came for and failed to reach, flattening Lappalainen in the process.
The introduction of Choiniere for Lappalainen who couldn’t match last week’s heroics, gave the Impact new impetus. It was the 20-year-old’s best spell of football this season, foraging well to provide possession to Urruti who finished brilliantly on 55 minutes and then winning a penalty when his forceful run into the box saw him upended by Kelyn Acosta.
Saphir Taider’s spot-kick squeezed under Irwin’s outstretched right hand. 4-3. Game on! They couldn’t, could they?
The answer was no, and yet more slack defending was the Impact’s undoing. It came from another fine cross by Price on 78 mins. Shinyashiki lost Lovitz, his marker, too easily and applied the finishing touch with his head. This time at least Bush was blameless.
The Impact went into the game hoping to record a record-breaking 5th away win in a season, but the record claimed was by the Rapids, when Kamara rounded off the scoring in the 90th minute. 6-3, the first time ever Colorado had scored six goals in an MLS game.
By now Montreal was ragged. No-one had picked up the striker. Yet another quality cross was provided by Jack Price and Kamara headed home despite Bush’s vain attempt to be first to the cross.
Quite how the Impact could give Kamara so much space throughout this game, with his ‘previous’ against them, beggars belief.
It’s back to the drawing board, which seems to be what you get with this Montreal team. This latest 90 minutes may well be held up as the definitive ‘How Not To Defend’ manual, for neither side showed much ability or organization in that department. It was pretty awful.
Let’s hope Bojan wasn’t watching. Then again, if he was, perhaps he’s encouraged ...
Rapids - Howard (Irwin, 46) - Rosenberry, Abubakar, Smith (Wilson, 76), Vines - Nicholson (Lewis, 72), Rubio Koster, Shinyashiki, Acosta, Price - Kamara
IMFC - Bush - Sagna, Diallo, Raitala, Lovitz - Okwonkwo, Shome (Azira, 82), Taider, Lappalainen (Choiniere, 53) - Piatti (Krolicki, 67), Urruti
Match Officials -
Referee: Marcos De Oliveira
Assistant Referees: Nick Uranga, Kyle Longville
4th Official: Allen Chapman
VAR: Dave Gantar