Two road games in succession; at Columbus and at Philadelphia. Most Impact fans would have settled quite happily for the three-point haul that came their way, but a sense of disappointment that the three points gleaned did not extend to four, prevailed at the end of this one.
Still with errors at each end of the pitch this evening, the Impact’s comparatively healthy performance was undone, and the game was lost by the narrowest of margins.
The feeling extended to the players with Sam Piette and Luis Binks each adamant that their team was worthy of taking something from the game against the second-placed team in the East.
Thierry Henry sounded even more frustrated and expressed annoyance at Romell Quioto’s gilt-edged opportunity in the 86th min which was missed, but really should have given Montreal a share of the spoils. It would also have broken a sequence of the Impact losing the last 16 MLS games in which they trailed at half-time.
It was in fact, a brave performance by Montreal. They were prepared to possess the ball in the opponent’s half and went toe to toe with a quality side, the second they have face in four days with a 100% record at home this season.
Once again they conceded a goal close to the interval, the fifth in the last six games between minute 39 and half-time. Two Union players managed to make undetected runs into the box with Camacho and Piette failing to keep tabs. When Ilsinho’s slipped ball put Monteiro beyond Camacho, the midfield man finished with a low shot between the near post and Diop, who might have done better.
The game swung away from Montreal within minutes of the restart, yet they were close to levelling matters before Philadelphia struck its second. Wanyama’s powerful drive had Impact viewers off their seats, only for Blake to come up big and punch away for a corner.
Within a minute, it was 2-0 Philadelphia. Straight from the resultant corner they broke downfield. Corrales played the Union attackers onside, checking his position too late and allowing Ilsinho to provide an easy opportunity for Santos, a half-time introduction, to pass into the unguarded goal.
Despite adding the cushion, Philadelphia hadn’t looked their best, the sides looking fairly well matched, but the Union, as all good sides do, found a way...
Montreal were given a lifeline in the 65th minute when Amar Sejdic provided a moment of quality picking up a ball from Quioto, The youngster travelled towards goal, ran across Santos and delivered a well-placed shot between Philadelphia’s static central defensive pairing and beyond Blake. The margin was back to one.
In the closing minutes Sejdic should have had an assist to go along with his maiden MLS goal. After controlling an awkward ball on half-way, his exquisite measured pass put Quioto in on goal. The Honduran tried to be too cute with his finish over Blake who managed to get the slightest touch. The ball finished on the wrong side of the post and the chance was gone.
From Thierry Henry’s post-match reaction he expected more ruthlessness from his top-scorer.
“We had a one v one, an opportunity to come back into the game, and once again we don’t understand moments. Instead of burying the goal we think about trying to be pretty to score goals. You have to score. It’s not about being pretty.
“We’re running and trying to come back into the game. We have to be a bit more aggressive in terms of finishing and not try to be pretty.
“But in saying that, the team didn’t give up. They came back into it. They should’ve come back into it and I will say it, I didn’t think we deserved to lose today. But we did!”
Despite an encouraging performance, Quioto’s miss and the manner in which Philadelphia’s two goals were conceded ultimately sealed Montreal’s fate.
Apart from the Chicago result (2-1 winners over DC United) most other outcomes went Montreal’s way this weekend and despite this evening’s reverse they remain 8th in the East. Philadelphia, with their record sixth straight home MLS win in-a-row now sit three points behind Toronto at the top.
Montreal are again in action Wednesday evening against New England Revolution at Red Bull Arena. It will be the fourth meeting of the sides this season, with each game taking place at a different venue. The Impact can narrow the gap on the Revs to three points with a victory.
Union - Blake - Mbaizo (Real, 61), Elliott, McKenzie, Wagner - Bedoya, Creavalle (Santos, 46) - Ilsinho (Fontana, 72), Jamiro Monteiro, Aaronson (Wooten, 90+1) - Przybylko
Bench (not used) - Bendik, Freese, Collin, Oravec, Galina
Impact - Diop - Brault-Guillard (Bayiha, 84), Camacho, Binks, Fanni, Corrales - Wanyama, Piette, Sejdic - Bojan (Ballou Tabla, 56), Toye (Quioto)
Bench (not used) - Pantemis, Sirois, Waterman, Yao, Shome, Giraldo
Match Officials -
- Referee: Ted Unkel
- Assistant Referees: Adam Wienckowski, Cory Richardson
- 4th Official: Luis Arroyo
- VAR: Jose Carlos Rivero