Good news stories for Montreal Impact against New York City FC are incredibly hard to find and last night proved no exception, even if optimism reigned for over two thirds of the match.
Until then it had not been a bad performance from the Impact, who controlled large swathes of the game, although it was under-strength New York who started brightest and James Pantemis had to be alert. The pick of his early activity was a superb one-handed save from Moralez.
But Montreal grew into the game controlling the tempo without creating much in the way of clear-cut chances. Bojan thought he had opened the scoring on 35, latching onto Sejdic’s through ball, but the Catalan was correctly flagged offside.
After the break the game followed a similar pattern. Montreal became increasingly dominant and you sensed a breakthrough would come mainly through the foraging or Romell Quioto up front. Impact’s threat however peaked around the hour mark without success and was extinguished within minutes.
On 61, Quioto brought a good save from Johnson, and three minutes later as momentum built, Piette found himself in but too far from goal. He cleverly found Quioto with a well-weighted pass, but the Honduran’s finish was high, wide and not so handsome.
We didn’t know it then, but the game was about to turn... emphatically.
New York City who had been playing second fiddle, attacked in the 68th minute. Tinnerholm found Moralez, who had managed to give Wanyama the slip. In such a situation Moralez will often do damage. This time he found Matarrita on the right, whose ball should have been dealt with by Camacho, but the Frenchman succeeded only in teeing up Medina. The New York City striker didn’t need a second invitation placing the ball beyond Waterman on the line.
The floodgates didn’t open straightaway, Maxi Urruti even had a great chance to level, but they opened. We waited until the 83rd minute for the game-clinching goal, and again it was that man Moralez with a finish from the centre of the goal, 12 yards out.
From controlling the tempo and being in the ascendency for much of the game, Montreal had become a well beaten side at this point. Looking ragged and bewildered it was no surprise when a third goal was conceded, Tony Rocha’s first in MLS, three minutes later.
The Impact did mange a consolation through Quioto, his seventh of the season, but it was all too little and much too late.
A disappointed Thierry Henry accepting responsibility for the defeat, summed things up afterwards, “We had that game in our hands, we didn’t punish them. We punished ourselves in our own box.”
And that I’m afraid was pretty much how it was, an ultimately disappointing night in The Bronx.
NYCFC - Johnson - Tinnerholm, Ibeagha, Callens, Matarrita (Torres, 90+4) - Parks (Acevedo, 90+3), Ring - Moralez, Thorarinsson, Mackay-Steven (Rocha, 78) - Medina
Bench - Barraza, Scally, Stuver, Haak
IMFC - Pantemis - Brault-Guillard, Camacho (Urruti, 72), Binks, Waterman, Corrales - Wanyama, Sejdic (Toye, 80), Piette - Bojan (Tabla, 72) (Bayiha, 87), Quioto
Bench (not used) - Sirois, Raitala, Yao, Maciel, Shome
Match Officials -
Referee: Ramy Touchan
Asst Refs: Eric Weisbrod, Adam Garner
4th Official: Adam Kilpatrick
VAR: Guido Gonzales Jr.