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Impact Fans Reach For Morning-after Pill

Long-suffering fans faced familiar feelings this morning after facing old foe.

SOCCER: SEP 09 MLS - Toronto FC at Montreal Impact
Binks moves in to tackle Altidore. The Impact man eclipsed his rival last night, but it was Altidore who had the last laugh.
Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Same old, same old...

Decent performance, but still no cigar...

It’s enough to make long-suffering Impact fans who’ve now seen their great rivals Toronto FC record 5 wins on their last 8 MLS visits to Montreal, reach for a morning-after pill.

The twitter reaction was one of overwhelming disappointment, branching into areas of frustration, let-down and even anger. And maybe the most dangerous reaction of all - resignation.

It really is a roller-coaster of emotions following this team. And it’s when you start feeling encouraged, that you really must hide behind the sofa, such is the expectancy that disaster or the next damaging defeat is but a short pass away.

One funny fan last night on twitter even suggested they make a ‘Heritage Minute out of this team - “Montrealers going to bed depressed after #IMFC plays Toronto. A part of our Heritage.’

It’s not easy tackling your biggest rival, when they enjoy the largest playing budget in MLS, but fans demanding success never seem to consider that, they see only failure to exert authority over the old enemy in a game in which only one outcome matters.

It was a tough loss last evening and not one the Impact deserved. But how do you legislate against the error that led to the winning goal?

Errors like that simply frustrate everyone. All the hard work in the build-up by coaches and players alike undone by one moment of poor execution. The coaching staff had the Impact well set-up last night, in fact that’s a plaudit they deserve in three of the four matches played so far in this series (you know the exception).

While it might be a slight stretch to claim they deserved to win, the eventual outcome wasn’t warranted, the paupers matched the princes all over the field. For 89 minutes...

As Sam Piette said, “I think we matched Toronto today. We played even some better football at times. We created a lot of chances but couldn’t really finish them or we were slightly offside, I refer to Romell’s two goals.

“And I think the two goals were avoidable tonight for Toronto. The second one, obviously we all know what happened.

“It’s a tough one because I felt we had the game in our hands and we let that slip for no reason.”

Toronto FC v Montreal Impact
Sam Piette in typical combat style against Toronto’s Ayo Akinola - “We had it in our hands and let it slip.”
Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Being fair, there has been clear improvement since Thierry Henry’s very early days when he was still feeling out the club and his playing squad. The tinkering appears to be over and the former World Cup winner has settled on a style that suits those at his disposal.

In this Canadian series the football has been better, his side’s displays more confident and they’re also braver at going forward in possession. Defending set-pieces, in fact defending in general, has gone up a notch or two as well. Just on that point, Luis Binks will be an amazingly hard act to follow when he departs for Italy. The Englishman’s performance last night was more that of an experienced old pro, not someone barely into their 19th year, although his athleticism testifies to the latter.

The Canadian Championship won last season with such fanfare now looks a bridge too far. The ask now is for Montreal to win their next two games, both in Vancouver.

Including the defeat of Toronto in their last road game, success would then require three regular-season road victories in succession (and a positive goal difference margin from the Vancouver meetings of +4).

Montreal Impact has never before achieved three successive road wins in an MLS season. They’ve only ever won once in eight visits to BC Place, and in those days they, not Toronto, had the only Piatti in town.

Draw your own conclusions... but I suggest we’ll need to keep those morning-after pills handy for a while longer yet.