March 24, 2010 - North American Soccer League (NASL) - Montreal Impact
CARY, North Carolina - The Montreal Impact played to a 1-1 draw against the Charleston Battery (USL D2), in its first exhibition match in North Carolina, Wednesday, at WakeMed Soccer Complex in Cary.
The Battery took the lead at the 39th minute. Following a turnover in Impact territory, forward Tom Heinemann, positioned near the goal line, deflected with a header a cross coming from the right flank, beating goalkeeper Srdjan Djekanovic on the opposite side.
The Impact tied the score in the last moments of the match. At the 87th minute, defender Hicham Aaboubou, who moved to attacking position, took advantage of an error from the Battery's defense to break away and defeat the goalkeeper, who had come out from his goal.
"It was a tough match against an organized team," said Simon Gatti, who played the 90 minutes of the game. "We made a few mistakes that hurt us but that\'s why we are playing exhibition games. We are finetuning for our season."
"We faced a team that worked hard during the entire match, so it was a good test for us," noted defender Adam Braz, who also played the entire game. "We had possession of the ball for most of the time, but we didn\'t succeed in creating enough scoring chances. We should expect to play this type of match during the season, so it\'s important to be mentally strong in order to avoid making errors."
The Montreal team had two occasions to equalize before halftime when Leonardo Di Lorenzo\'s volley shot went just above the goal and midfielder Philippe Billy hit the exterior of the right post. In the second half, Impact midfielder Filipe Soares took a free kick less than twenty-five meters out that the Battery goalkeeper stopped by diving to his right
"There were positive aspects to the match, but we were a bit too slow to create occasions, especially in the offensive third," explained Impact head coach Marc Dos Santos. "We will definitely need to improve this point. We realize that there is still work to do. Players are looking forward to the season, but we need to keep a good attitude to be ready."
Quebec midfielder Pierre-Rudolph Mayard, loaned to the Battery for a period of five months, was on the starting lineup. Mayard, who played the full 90 minutes of the game, obtained two scoring chances, at the 33rd minute and at the 51st minute.
The Impact will play its next match in North Carolina Saturday against the Carolina RailHawks (USSF-D2) at 7 pm.