Home MLS Montreal Impact Impact loses for the second time in a row

Impact loses for the second time in a row

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While the tornadoes that touched down in the Raleigh area earlier today may have kept some fans away from WakeMed Soccer Park, the weather did not put a damper on the Carolina RailHawks, who defeated the Impact 2-1, handing Montreal its second straight loss to open the NASL season.

Montreal dominated play in the early going, with forward Pierre-Rudolph Mayard showing speed but lacking a finishing touch on his chances. An 11th-minute corner taken by 2010 team MVP Philippe Billy found Zurab Tsiskaridze, who had his shot deflected into the net by Kevin Hatchi, his first-ever goal for the Impact.

But, soon afterwards, Etienne Barbara took advantage of confusion in front of the Impact goal — provoked by a flurry of headers following a Carolina cross-in — scoring from the swampy area to the right of keeper Bill Gaudette in the 21st minute as the momentum shifted in favour of the home side.

A Matt Watson pass sent newcomer Pablo Campos, who saw limited use with Real Salt Lake last season, in alone in the 35th minute. Campos chipped the ball over Gaudette, water from the dampened carpet splashing as he scored his first wearing Carolina colours. Watson’s assist, his 10th as a RailHawk, established him as the team’s all-time leader.

The one-goal lead almost became two three minutes later when Nick Zimmerman beat Impact captain, Nevio Pizzolitto, bursting past the veteran defender only to have Gaudette make a diving save.

Carolina dictated the pace in a scoreless second half as the RailHawks stifled Montreal’s offensive attempts and had several chances of their own but failed to score a third time. Goalkeeper Gaudette stopped Barbara in the 69th minute and Zimmerman got the best of Pizzolitto for a second time in the 85th, only to have his shot sail above the crossbar.

In the running to postpone the RailHawks first victory celebration of the season until the final whistle, Montreal’s final chance came in extra time when an Ali Gerba header went astray.

“We didn’t play well during 20 minutes in the first half and is cost us two goals and the game,” Impact head coach Marc Dos Santos was quoted in a relase issued by the team following the game. “We gave up goals too easily on two set plays. We must show more concentration in those moments. It’s disappointing because we started the game well. Then, in the second half, we weren’t able to create the opportunities we wanted and we didn’t have a lot of movement in the offensive third. We didn’t do enough to win tonight in Carolina.”

He also commented on the officiating.

“We are not looking for excuses, but it’s impossible to win a game if there’s no consistency with the refereeing,” added Dos Santos. “Ali (Gerba) was fouled twice in the 18-yard box and the referee didn’t give a penalty on both occasions.”

Carolina’s next game is scheduled for Wednesday evening, when they host FC Edmonton, while Montreal opens their home season against FC Tampa Bay next Sunday afternoon.

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