Impact Suffers 2-1 Loss to FC Cincinnati
CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Montreal Impact suffered a 2-1 loss, Saturday afternoon at Nippert Stadium, in its first MLS game against FC Cincinnati.
"Honestly, my players were heroic today," said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. "I don't know how we lost this game. We should've left with at least a point. I'm very proud of what they were able to do on the pitch and of the pressure we put them under, especially at the end. I'm confident we'll bounce back."
After the hosts took a two-goal lead, midfielder Orji Okwonkwo found the back of the net in the 75th minute to cut the deficit in half, but the visitors couldn't find the tying goal in the last quarter-hour.
Early goal for Cincinnati
It was the home team that struck first, in the seventh minute. With Cincinnati in possession in the final third, forward Darren Mattocks beat his man and ran towards the touchline, passing back to Allan Cruz, who easily beat Evan Bush from in front of the six-yard box.
Montreal thought it was in on goal midway through the first half, when centre-back Zakaria Diallo found Zachary Brault-Guillard in behind the defense with a long pass. The Canadian international crossed into the box for Omar Browne, but the play was whistled offside.
In the 40th minute, Maxi Urruti thought he scored his second goal of the season after he redirected a pass from Daniel Lovitz past goalkeeper Spencer Richey, but the play was again called offside, this time on Lovitz.
"The goals we gave up weren't good goals to concede, especially the first one," said goalkeeper Evan Bush. "We were in a position to defend that and it put us in a bad spot seven minutes into the game. We scored what we thought was the equalizing goal, but it wasn't, so we had to push again. We weren't done any favours."
More dynamic after the break
After being outdueled in the first half, the Impact returned from the break with more dynamism in its play. Two minutes into the second half, Browne collected his own rebound from a corner, crossing again to the far post for Shome, but the midfielder was unable to find the net.
Despite the Impact's improved play, the home side doubled its lead in the 62nd minute. A nice play from Leonardo Bertone in midfielder allowed Roland Lamah to get in from the right side, passing to the top of the box for Fatai Alashe, who beat Bush.
Montreal remained aggressive in the opponent's half, moving higher up the field. They were finally rewarded in the 75th minute, when Shome recovered the ball, passing quickly to Urruti, who looked up and spotted substitute Okwonkwo in the box. His cross found the Nigerian, who coolly finished to cut the lead in half.
Right-back Bacary Sagna made his entrance in the 71st minute, making an impact ten minutes later when his low cross found Anthony Jackson-Hamel inside the box, but he couldn't get a proper shot away.
Jackson-Hamel found himself in alone on goal in the 90th minute after receiving a pass from Okwonkwo and fighting off his defender, but his shot from close was parried away by Richey.
"I don't think we had a bad game," said midfielder Samuel Piette, who made his 50th consecutive start with the Impact. "We fought until the end. There was a lot of fatigue on our end and motivation on theirs with a new coach. It wasn't our day either. I don't think we need to see this loss as one that will hurt us in the long run."
The Impact will be back at Stade Saputo on Saturday, May 18, to take on the New England Revolution (TICKETS - TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690). Stade Saputo's doors will open at 11am to allow you to enjoy the atmosphere and take advantage of numerous activities in the stadium's corridors. From 11am to noon, the classic 2-for-1 on all drink will be in place. Don't miss our new pregame ritual, during which supporters can welcome players in Stade Saputo's North grandstand, 90 minutes before kickoff, at 11:30am. Montreal will then make the long trip to the West Coast to visit Los Angeles FC at Banc of California Stadium, on Friday, May 24, at 10:30pm EDT (TVA Sports, TSN, 98.5, TSN 690).
MTL - GK-Evan Bush; D-Zachary Brault-Guillard (Bacary Sagna 71'), Zakaria Diallo, Rudy Camacho, Jukka Raitala (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 75'), Daniel Lovitz; M-Samuel Piette, Shamit Shome, Micheal Azira (Orji Okwonkwo 63'); F-Maximiliano Urruti, Omar Browne
Subs not used - Clément Diop, Daniel Kinumbe, Saphir Taïder, Ken Krolicki
CIN - GK-Spencer Richey; D-Greg Garza, Justin Hoyte, Kendall Waston, Mathieu Deplagne; M-Frankie Amaya (Fatai Alashe 59'), Leonardo Bertone, Victor Ulloa; F-Allan Cruz (Kekuta Manneh 81'), Darren Mattocks, Roland Lamah (Emmanuel Ledesma 74')
Subs not used -Przemyslaw Tyton, Alvas Powell, Nick Hagglund, Fanendo Adi
CIN - Cruz (Mattocks) 7'
CIN - Alashe (Lamah, Bertone) 62'
MTL - Okwonkwo (Urruti) 75'
MTL - Azira 47'
MTL - Sagna 87'
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