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Feature - The Impact’s 1-Goal Wonders

The players who have scored precisely one goal for the Impact since it joined MLS in 2012

Toronto FC beats Montreal Impact 4-2 in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship
Cameron Porter, only one goal for the Impact before injury caused him to move on, but what a goal it was!
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Researching this article I thought, no problem, it’ll comprise of a dozen players or less. Easy, peasy. But there’s actually 22 who have recorded only a solitary goal for IMFC since 2012.

Some fly off the top of the head like Cameron Porter and Sam Piette, but there are less memorable names that pop up, seemingly from nowhere like Kenny Cooper, Andrea Pisanu and Zarek Valentin.

Many will probably have no recollection whatsoever of former Manchester United trainee, Cooper’s goal for the club. It was against Toronto FC at BMO Field, an equalizer in the 25th minute of the 2015 Canadian Championship semi-final 2nd leg which the Impact lost 2-3, but progressed on away goals to the final.

Cooper, an arrival from Seattle, who made his debut just 4 days previously, coming on for Jack McInerney with 4 mins to go in a home defeat by Portland Timbers, only lasted another 7 mins before injury ended not only his evening, but his very short Montreal Impact career (all of 36 minutes).

The US-international remained in Montreal for the rest of the season, without ever regaining fitness and retired from playing that December.

Cooper is one of nine Americans to register just one goal. Of course Porter’s late, late CONCACAF strike against Pachuca is the most famous of all, but there’s also been Zarek Valentin who scored a 79th min deadlock breaking goal from right-back in 2012 against Columbus in a game Montreal eventually won 2-0, and Quincy Amarikwa, who struck in a 4-1 win at Philadelphia Union.

New York Red Bulls v Montreal Impact
Kenny Cooper (right) playing against the Impact in the pic, managed only one goal for the club before injury curtailed his Impact career.
Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Fair-haired centre-back Kyle Fisher was another American to register one goal with head heavily bandaged in a 4-1 thrashing of Portland at Stade Saputo in 2017, while Donny Toia registered his only goal, the opener in a 2-0 success over Orlando City in Montreal in 2015.

Full-back Chris Duvall from south of the border also joined the list. He scored the second in a 2-0 Stade Saputo win over DC United.

Chicago Fire was Daniel Lovitz’s victim when he popped up for his only Impact goal, a 91st minute winner (2-1) in 2018.

Of the nine Americans to score once, that leaves Collen Warner, way back in the club’s second MLS season. Warner scored the winner at Sporting Kansas after the Impact had trailed at half-time. It was the game in which Alessandro Nesta was red-carded with 16 minutes left to play, so all in all a pretty impressive evening's work by the Montreal XI.

Four Canadians have scored only one goal for the club. Sam Piette, already mentioned, obviously has the chance to remove his name from the list by adding another goal to his tally, but the other three are stuck-fast on one. They are David Choiniere (now with Forge FC), Shamit Shome, who scored in the 3-0 win at New England two seasons ago and Karl Ouimette, whose solitary Impact strike was highly significant. It clinched a 2-1 home victory over Philadelphia Union to send the Impact into play-off football for the first time in 2013.

Montreal at Sporting KC
Seen here playing against SKC, Karl Ouimette’s solitary Impact goal earned his side it’s first-ever shot at the MLS Play-offs in 2013.
John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Two South Americans have plundered a single goal each, both Argentinians. Hernan Bernardello scored an 86th minute equalizer at DC United to earn a point in 2016, while Victor Cabrera chose the international stage to make his mark. Making only his third start for the club (in an unaccustomed right-back position) in the Champions League semi-final, Cabrera scored from a corner at the Big O in the 2-0 win over Costa Rica’s Alajuelense.

He went on to play in another 111 games for the Impact (all comps) without finding the net ever again.

The only African to register a solitary goal for Montreal was Ugandan Michael Azira in 2018. His 27th minute equalizer against New York City FC helped Montreal avoid defeat for the only time so far against the Light Blues at Stade Saputo.

Six Europeans from four countries make up the list.

From Italy there’s Andrea Pisanu and Matteo Ferrari, who scored a stoppage time winner over Real Salt Lake at Stade Saputo in 2013. He had earlier put through his own goal, so the former Italian international managed a goal for both sides on the day.

From France, Harry Novillo’s winner against Columbus Crew in 2019 will still be free in the memory. The goal gave the Impact a 1-0 victory. The other Frenchman is of course Rod Fanni, whose 30th minute strike against the Red Bulls at Stade Saputo in 2018, set up a 3-0 success.

Off to northern Europe now, and a Scot and a Finn make the numbers up to 22.

SOCCER: JUL 22 MLS - FC Dallas at Montreal Impact
Scotsman Calum Mallace scored his only Impact goal at Gillette Stadium.
Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Scottish-born Calum Mallace scored his only Impact goal at Gillette Stadium against the Revs. His 13th minute strike put his team in front, but they trailed 1-2 by the break with neither side adding to the scoring in the second-half.

Current out-going captain Jukka Raitala claimed his only strike with a rocket of a shot which earned a point at Real Salt Lake in 2018. Nick Rimando in the home goal never smelt it, as the ball sizzled past him at a rate of knots. The 55th minute goal earned the Impact a point.