New year, same old Impact.
The Montreal Impact’s home opener was against none other than last year’s MLS Cup champions: the Seattle Sounders. The Impact had lost the season opener in the previous week in San Jose, by a score of 1-0. They needed these three precious points, especially with an approximate 35 000 fans coming to support their beloved Montreal side. This is exactly the mentality the Impact began the game with; they came out like lions, attacking the western side from the get-go. The Quebec side was all over the Sounders team, dominating in possession and in full control of the game.
The Impact had yet to record a shot on target in the 2017 campaign, until the 16th minute of the game, where Nacho Piatti played a beautiful ball into the path of Matteo Mancosu; the Italian managed to send Seattle’s goalkeeper the wrong way, slotting the ball into an empty net. The fans were jumping with excitement as the Impact managed to score early in the game and not only that, they also managed to score a goal on their first shot on target. I don’t know if this stat is impressive or just embarrassing, as it took them almost two games to record a shot on net.
Fast forward to the second half; the Impact had the upper hand and most of the possessions up until this point, and in the 51st minute of play, once again, Nacho Piatti came running down the pitch on a counter attack. Doing what he does best, he ran the defenders the wrong way and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner. At this point, it looked pretty clear that the Impact were going to wrap up the game and have the three points in their back pocket. That’s what most teams would have done, except Montreal decided to complicate their lives, something that the fans are very used to seeing, as it is not the first and probably won’t be the last time that the Impact blow a lead. Let’s take it back a couple of years. The Impact blew a lead in front of a sold out Olympic Stadium in the CONCACAF Champions League final against Club America and last year, all they had to do was kill 15 minutes on the clock in Toronto and they would have been off to the MLS Cup finals, but no, the Impact love complicating their lives.
The Impact was in complete control of the entire game, until Laurent Ciman, the Belgian defender, quite gently took down the Seattle winger in the box in the 83rd minute, and obviously, this late in the game, the referee will whistle any sort of contact in the box for the losing team. Nicolas Lodeiro scored the penalty shot, sending Evan Bush the wrong way. It was then 2-1, with seven minutes to go. And of course, at the final minute of the game, Seattle came surging down the right flank. After a precise cross went into the box, Will Bruin managed to pick up the garbage and kick the ball into the back of the net. The comeback was complete and the game over. After being dominated for 83 minutes, all the Sounders needed was seven minutes to make Montreal’s night a disastrous nightmare. So, there you have it, the final score: 2-2. Many fans were booing the team at the end of the game, and I, sitting in that seat in total disappointment, could understand why.
The positive news that comes out of this stalemate is that the Impact realized that they blew it again. Keeper Evan Bush even stated that “it was total garbage. It was just dumb, a dumb performance on our part.” Personally, being at the game, I cannot disagree with this statement. In my eyes, the Impact players have put it in their heads that they, without a doubt, must achieve greatness this year, after failing to reach the MLS Cup final in devastating fashion last year. This will only damage their chances and moral for this season, as they will never be content with their results, always comparing themselves to last year. The Impact must come together to fix these minor problems, as they are now heading South for a three-game road trip against some very tough opponents.
Written By: Brandon Brini