Impact Falls 4-2 against Los Angeles FC
LOS ANGELES, California - The Montreal Impact suffered a 4-2 loss against Los Angeles FC Friday night, in its first ever game at Banc of California Stadium.
"We knew what they were capable of. We studied this team very well," said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. "We had a game plan, but, of course, when we concede that early, things change, although it shouldn't have affected it as much as it did. What we were able to do in the second half was a lot more interesting."
Early strike for the hosts
LAFC took an early lead in the seventh minute. After Evan Bush received the ball from a Montreal defender, Christian Ramirez pressured the goalkeeper, getting a foot on the attempted clearance and knocking it in the back of the net.
Montreal was inches away from answering back in the 13th minute. After Orji Okwonkwo won the ball back in midfield, he ran down the touchline, beating his defender before crossing for Nacho Piatti on the opposite side. The Argentine controlled it and tried picking out the top corner, but his shot missed just high.
Bush made a good save in the 18th minute, keeping the deficit at one when he dove to stop Ramirez from close range, after midfielder Latif Blessing found the striker prowling to Bush's right.
The hosts doubled their lead in the 28th minute, when Eduard Atuesta picked out Vela in between two defenders, sending him in alone on Bush. The Mexican international picked out the bottom left-corner, doubling his team's lead with his league-leading 15th goal of the season.
Three minutes later, Bob Bradley's men added a third. Vela, in front of the Montreal box, passed for Diego Rossi near the touchline to his left. The striker passed towards the middle for Blessing, who tucked it in on his first touch from inside the six-yard box.
In the 40th minute, Vela neatly controlled a long pass, feeding it quickly to Rossi on Bush's right. The Uruguayan got a shot away, but the Montreal goalkeeper was able to come off his line and make a timely save.
"There were a few pivotal moments in the first half, when mistakes we made were converted into goals," said full-back Daniel Lovitz. "That's what good teams do at home. The hole was a little bigger than what we would have liked. It was a decent reaction in the second half, even though it was too little, too late. Still, it's good to know we have that gear and that we were able to put two goals against this team. It's a silver lining, but it's very disappointing."
Milestones for Piatti
Los Angeles put this one out of reach in the 55th minute, this time from set piece. Carlos Vela swung one in from a corner, finding Tristan Blackmon in the box, who headed it past Bush for his first MLS goal.
Rémi Garde's men pulled one back in the 70th minute, when Bacary Sagna passed to striker Maxi Urruti near the top left of the opposing box. The Argentine crossed into the box for a teammate, but the ball ended up deflecting on Eddie Segura, beating goalkeeper Tyler Miller.
A few minutes later, in the 84th minute, the Impact was awarded a penalty when substitute Anthony Jackson-Hamel was brought down in the box by centre-back Walker Zimmerman. Designated Player Saphir Taïder stepped up to the spot, slotting it past Miller for his team-leading fourth goal of the season.
"We conceded a goal too early in the first half and we gave the ball away too easily," said full-back Bacary Sagna. "We put ourselves in danger when we lost possession and in the end, we end up conceding. But there were positives: in the second half, our mindset was a lot better and we used our possession more efficiently to score twice, which isn't easy here. But in the end, it wasn't enough."
After a 10-game hiatus due to injury, Piatti finally made his 125th start in an Impact uniform against LAFC, surpassing Hassoun Camara for the most in club history in MLS. The Argentine Designated Player also passed the French defender for most minutes played in MLS for the Impact in the 21st minute and reached the 11,000-minute mark in the 41st minute.
The Impact will play four consecutive games at Stade Saputo, including three in eight days, starting with the visit of Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, May 29, at 7:30pm (TICKETS - TVA Sports, TSN, 98.5, TSN 690). Montreal will then host Orlando City SC on Saturday, June 1, at 5pm (TICKETS - TVA Sports, TSN, 98.5, TSN), a game before which the UEFA Champions League final, featuring Liverpool against Tottenham, will be broadcast on the stadium's screens at 3pm. The Impact will then face the Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday, June 5, at 7:30pm (TICKETS - TVA Sports, TSN, 98.5, TSN)
MTL - GK-Evan Bush; D-Bacary Sagna, Zakaria Diallo, Jukka Raitala, Daniel Lovitz; M-Micheal Azira, Saphir Taïder, Shamit Shome; F-Ignacio Piatti (Ken Krolicki 64'), Maximiliano Urruti (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 77'), Orji Okwonkwo (Mathieu Choinière 41')
Subs not used - Clément Diop, Zachary Brault-Guillard, Rudy Camacho, Víctor Cabrera
LAFC - GK-Tyler Miller; D-Eddie Segura, Jordan Harvey, Tristan Blackmon, Walker Zimmerman; M-Eduard Atuesta (André Horta 72'), Latif Blessing, Mark-Anthony Kaye; F-Carlos Vela, Christian Ramirez (Adama Diomande 65'), Diego Rossi (Josh Pérez 90'+2')
Subs not used - Pablo Sisniega, Danilo Silva, Niko Hämäläinen, Lee Nguyen
LAFC - Ramirez 7'
LAFC - Vela (Atuesta) 28'
LAFC - Blessing (Rossi, Vela) 31'
LAFC - Blackmon (Vela) 55'
MTL - Segura (BCSC) 70'
MTL - Taïder (PEN) 84'
LAFC - Zimmerman 83'
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