Short tempered, short on energy, and short a man, Montreal Impact came up short against the New England Revolution. The gruelling play from the CONCACAF Championship League match against Alajuelense left Impact too exhausted to truly put their all into this weekend’s match against New England. With nine of their starting eleven having pummeled the Costa Rican club on Wednesday, it’s understandable that the players were pacing themselves.
Despite fighting exhaustion from the get-go, Impact players came out swinging. Carbrera took an early yellow for a shove at the 8’ mark, Ciman bopped a good header at 11’ that was saved in the top right corner, and then Tissot fizzed a shot past the top left corner at the 17th minute. It was a relatively slow back & forth with a bit of head-tennis during those first 17, but in the 18th minute things started to really go wrong. Porter leapt for a header, but twisted his knee and ankle on an exceptionally hard landing. Unable to continue, and likely out for weeks to come, Porter was subbed out for “Jack the Mack” (McInerney). The first half continued, but tempers were quick to flare. It was a physical first half, with Camara taking a yellow at the 29th & Mallace taking one of his own in the 39th. With four players sporting yellow cards, Montreal would need to change the tone dramatically in the second half.
Unfortunately, the second half started a lot like the first. Rough play was a hallmark of the action as both Impact and Revolution players were able to get away with a lot of hard fouls. Reo-Coker was visibly exhausted and struggled to keep from falling behind the play. Despite his exhaustion, Oduro managed to give Impact their best chance of the half when McInerney flicked a Toia cross to him. Wide-open on the right side of the box, Oduro tried a hard shot at the far-post, but ended up sending the ball a little wide.
With tempers hot, Oduro took a nasty looking knee in the 49th, and was injured again in the 56th. Too exhausted to get up without help, the trainers escorted him from the field allowing a rested Romero to enter the match. The bad luck continued as Camara was caught with his arm fully extended pulling on a Rev’s jersey. As his second yellow of the day, Camara left Montreal with a man short after only 61 minutes.
Determined to leave New England with a point, Montreal struggled through the remaining 29 minutes. With only 10 men on the field, the team’s exhaustion seemed to magically disappear as they often leapt into play. The only notable exception was Reo-Coker, who continued to lag behind. Thankfully, the play seemed to avoid him as Montreal was able to use some fancy passing to give themselves a few really close chances. In the 67th, Mallace threw a clever cross to McInerney, but the ball sailed safely away from the net.
Impact’s keeper, Bush, showed exactly why they are doing so well in the Champions league. He was peppered with shots from Nguyen, Farrell, and Tierney, but managed to punch, catch, or deflect them all. Bush was helped when Nguyen managed to miss the net when given a chance at an open header. With all the chances Revolution was able to tease out of the second half, it should come as no surprise that Bush was one Impact’s stars of the match.
Although Impact fans are sure to be thrilled to have escaped with a 0 – 0 tie, there’s no doubt that Revolution feel cheated. After Camara’s dismissal from the match, Impact’s rough play continued, involving two-handed shoves & body checking, and the referee often chose not to see it. Impact needs more rest and less hot-headedness if they’re going to do better in the MLS this season. Their stellar performance in the Champion’s League shows they can do it, but they need to keep those tempers in check.