Other pre-seasons have yielded more positive match results than this one, a win and two defeats so far, but then more often than not, IMFC fans have had to deal with Regular Season failure.
The Impact will be hoping this potential role reversal hits pivot point when things begin for real on February 19 in Costa Rica.
Match results mean little at this stage, so a second successive 0-1 defeat is not any reason for alarm. It’s all about fitness, understanding and honing the squad into an effective unit at this stage. And of course the new coach will be trying hard to install his values, ideas and philosophy. That the new coach is Thierry Henry, guarantees every player’s respect.
Last night at a sparsely populated Exploria Stadium, Luis Nani’s 39th minute free-kick goal proved the separation between the sides. The Portuguese had won the free-kick on a clash with Samuel Piette and finished past Evan Bush from the ‘D’.
That and the same player’s trademark backflip celebration lit up a mundane 45 mins of football, also Orlando’ s first pre-season outing.
There were chances for both sides in the second half, most notably for Montreal through Romell Quioto in the 51st and 60th mins, the earlier opportunity forcing a decent save from Gallese in the Orlando goal. Quioto’s replacement Ballou-Table probably should have done better when he lifted a shot over the frame, and an individual effort by Maxi Urruti rapped the upright when only 5 minutes remained.
Impact coach Thierry Henry noted progress.
”I think it’s a step in the right direction. Before Nani’s goal, we had control of the game.
“We were playing well and were finding each other between the lines. It was a little more difficult for us in the final third, but we managed to settle into their half a few times and hold onto the ball.
”It was a little more difficult after their goal. We were a little better in the second half. The guys that came on did well and we created some good chances, including Ballou’s one-on-one and Urruti’s [off the] post. In general, we’re progressing. It would have been better to win, but I’m happy with the chances we created to score.”
The usual rash of substitutions which always blights the rhythm of this type of fixture interrupted the second-half with Orlando making six changes and Impact seven.
Tottenham and England u19 starlet Luis Binks however played a full ninety minutes looking assured and commanding. He’s made quite an impression already and must seriously be in management’s thoughts in respect of making a deal at least for 2020.
Orlando’s new head coach Oscar Pareja a recent arrival from Tijuana in LigaMX expressed satisfaction with his own team.
“The thing that I liked the most is that I saw a team there, with a ball and without it.
“And we’re going to build slowly. It’s normal at this point. We would like many more things better, but we are very content with what we see today,”
Ignacio Piatti played no part, in fact he remained in normal clothes, un-stripped for action. It’s become eminently clear that the Argentinian maestro’s time really is up in Montreal.
The best thing for everyone now is to conclude matters quickly and in as dignified a manner as possible for the good of all parties.
The last thing anyone wants is for Piatti to depart the club he has served so well over the past 5 seasons leaving behind ugly or acrimonious memories overshadowing his overwhelmingly positive and special contribution to the MLS life of Montreal Impact.
Montreal Impact is next in action at the familiar venue of Al Lang Stadium in St-Petersburg when they face Nashville SC with a 7pm kick-off. The MLS newcomers have so far played two pre-season friendlies, a scoreless draw with IF Elfsborg who finished mid-table in Sweden’s Allsvensken in 2019, and a 1-3 defeat to Chicago Fire yesterday. Former Impact players Eric Miller and Daniel Lovitz are each among their ranks.
Orlando City: Pedro Gallese — Ruan (83’ Kyle Smith), Rodrigo Schlegel, Antônio Carlos, Kamal Miller — Júnior Urso, Uri Rosell (57’ Sebastian Mendez), Mauricio Pereyra (77’ Andres Perea) — Benji Michel (62’ Chris Mueller), Nani (83’ David Loera), Dom Dwyer (57’ Tesho Akindele)
Montreal Impact: Evan Bush — Jorge Corrales (78’ Keesean Ferdinand), Rudy Camacho, Luis Binks, Clement Bayiha (78’ Zachary Brault-Guillard) — Samuel Piette, Saphir Taïder (61’ Steeven Saba), Mathieu Choinière (71’ Shamit Shome) — Romell Quioto (61’ Ballou Tabla), Bojan (71’ Anthony Jackson-Hamel), Orji Okwonkwo (46’ Maxi Urruti)
Other pre-season scores yesterday...
Minnesota United .... 5 Miami FC .... 0
NY Red Bulls .... 2 Independiente del Valle (Ecuador) .... 1
Toronto FC .... 4 Colorado Rapids .... 0
Atlanta United .... 3 Birmingham Legion .... 2
Houston Dynamo .... 5 Rio Grande Valley FC .... 0
Four MLS clubs will debut safe-standing areas within their stadiums in 2020. LA Galaxy, DC United, New York Red Bulls and Inter-Miami will be following on from San Jose Earthquakes and Orlando City, the originals in 2017...
NYRB highest-ever MLS goalscorer (108 goals) Bradley Wright-Phillips has announced he’s joining Los Angeles FC for the 2020 season...
Jozy Altidore and Jonathan Osorio each scored in TFC’s 4-0 rout of Colorado Rapids in Irvine, California, yesterday, in a game of two 60-minute halves...
NYCFC academy product Giovanni Reyna registered his longest appearance to date for Borussia Dortmund, replacing Julian Brandt at half-time at Bayer Leverkusen. Dortmund wh lead 3-2, conceded in the 81st and 82nd mins to lose the game 3-4...
Happy Birthday! Five months into his loan-spell with Belgian Jupiler League club Sint-Truidense , D.C. United’s Chris Durkin opened his goalscoring account in a 5-2 victory over Eupen. It was the US u23 international’s 20th birthday. Sinn-Truidense lie 10the from 16 in the championship.