Home MLS Montreal Impact ACC seeding still wide open after Impact drops MLS finale to Revs

ACC seeding still wide open after Impact drops MLS finale to Revs

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The New England Revolution came to town looking to salvage a bit of pride and avoid being swept by a first-year team in their season series, but the Impact had something more tangible to play for: The top spot among Canadian pro teams and along with it the right to face FC Edmonton in the opening round of next year’s Amway Canadian Championship.

When the final whistle blew, the New England side had achieved its objective, leaving town with a 1-0 victory in a game where it was outplayed by their hosts from the opening whistle but, like it has so often in their inaugural MLS campaign, Montreal gave up a late goal, leaving points on the table that it needed and, as a result, are dependent on Real Salt Lake to handle the Vancouver Whitecaps later Saturday evening. Both the Whitecaps and Impact are tied at 42 points each.

Playing its last game at high pace, Montreal outworked, outplayed, outchanced but failed to outscore its opponents, not the first time this fate has befallen them this year.

“We did enough to deserve a win. We just couldn’t make a play, which is incredibly frustrating at the end,” said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch.
“When you give up a goal like that after a game that you’ve totally dominated -another game that late, we give it away — it’s frustrating.” “We were in complete control of the game from start to finish, we created plenty of chances to score and end up losing the game,” offered Impact captain Davy Arnaud. “It was probably the most lopsided game I’ve been a part of in my career and lost the game, which is tough, being the last game of the season.”

Montreal came charging out to open play but New England had the first chance. Pressed into action early, goalkeeper Troy Perkins punched a Jerry Bengtson ball out of harm’s way in the sixth minute, stopped the Honduran national again in the 39th and, between those saves, nullified a threat from Fernando Cardenas in the 28th.

Montreal, holding the ball for nearly 70 per cent of the opening 45, got repeated opportunities through the opening half with the first coming immediately after Perkins’ sixth-minute save, a play that saw Andrew Wenger’s attempted cross from the left side of the goal miss connecting with its intended target.

Jeb Brovsky, repeatedly overlapping on the right side, tried to find his man in close but failed to mesh. He linked up with Patrice Bernier early on but was unable to bury the local midfielder’s pass. In the 21st minute, he found an open Marco Di Vaio but the Italian DP’s shot went wide of the mark.

Defender Hassoun Camara’s header missed the goal a minute later and a slow Brovsky cross in the 33rd floated into the six-metre box where it was hauled in by Bobby Shuttleworth before reaching an awaiting Di Vaio while New England had a last opening half kick at the can in the 36th minute when Cardenas sailed his shot over Perkins’s net.

In the second half, the Impact redoubled its efforts with multiple chances on forays into enemy territory but was once again unable to bury one. Arnaud had a shot in the early going, directing a left-footed shot at the New England net in the 51st that was blocked by Shuttleworth. Moments later, he fed Di Vaio who missed with a right foot from inside the box. Another flurry of opportunities went unrewarded in the 65th minute and in the 66th. Di Vaio, after taking a pass from Wenger, failed to connect with a charging Collen Warner. Justin Mapp subbed in for Di Vaio in the 71st and, four minutes later, took a Calum Mallace cross and drove it goalward, only to have his shot stopped by Revolution keeper.

The crowd got to its feet in the 71st minute when veteran striker Eddy Sebrango prepared to enter the game, sent in to replace Wenger up top. It was probably the last time Montreal fans will see him on the pitch.

“I knew that it would happen and it was special. They’ve always supported me. It’s fantastic,” said the 39-year-old who came into camp last winter as the fittest man on the team. “You dream about finishing on top and scoring a goal. I had that dream a bit last night. I tried and that’s what counts for me.”

He also came in for praise from his coach after the game, who said, “Eddy hasn’t announced anything official yet but for sure, as a group, we’re all very appreciative of the kind of guy he is, what he’s achieved in his career and what he puts into his daily work. He’s a really good man and I think that everyone looks up to him for the person he is and the career that he’s had.”

A foul called on Brovsky in the 88th minute led to a Ryan Guy free kick from the right hand side. He got it to defender Chris Tierney who, in turn drove the ball across the face of the Impact goal from whence fellow defender A.J. Soares headed it home.

“Jeb was going in there a little wild but it didn’t look like much contact. From the bench we were saying that it didn’t look like a foul but, yeah, that’s the way that game went,” offered Marsch. “It felt like it wasn’t our day. In Toronto (last week) we had multiple chances that we just couldn’t put one away. We’ve managed to score a good number of goals this year and lately we’ve managed not to give too many away.”

Bernier, announced as the Impact’s Player of the Year, was presented with the Giuseppe Saputo Trophy before the game and also came in for some praise from the coach. “He’s been an important player for us in so many different ways. It’s great to have him and it’s a great way for him to come back to Montreal after a great year in Europe. For him to come back and help establish this team in MLS and then be named the player of the year is something that is very (much) deserved.”

Marsch also pronounced himself satisfied with the season as a whole, saying,”The thing that I’m pleased with and proud of is everything that this group has put into this season. I’m very appreciative of the kind of men we have in the locker room and the kind of commitment they’ve shown to each other and to being part of this. I certainly thank them very much and know that there’s a bright future for this club.”

Asked for his impression of the season, Arnaud said, “Overall, we can be proud of the season that we’ve had. Right now I think we’re all a little disappointed because we feel like even though we put up a good number of points we let a fair number slip which is disappointing. I think overall from where we started to where we are, we can be proud.”

When he was queried about whether he saw himself returning for next season the veteran Texas native indicated that he would not be averse to another year in Montreal. “If I’m here, I’m here. I’ve enjoyed it here and I’m under contract here. At the end of the day those decisions are not up to me. I just come out and play.”

THROW-INS – Five Impact players went into the final game of the schedule with over 2000 minutes playing time this season — Davy Arnaud (2675), Felipe (2652), Collen Warner (2344), Jeb Brovsky (2143) and Patrice Bernier (2104)

• While the Impact may have finished their MLS schedule, they are not taking s break yet, heading to Italy in November to play friendlies against Fiorentino and Bologna, both Serie A sides.

• Today served as Fan Appreciation Day with the first 8,000 fans arriving at Saputo Stadium being issued a team tuque and everyone leaving the stadium receiving poster-sized versions of the official team portrait.

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