Impact satisfied with effort, but disappointed with draw against FC Dallas By Mike Wyman Posted on July 21, 2013 0 0 403 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Patrice Bernier PHOTO: JOHANY JUTRAS/CANADA SOCCER Neither the Montreal Impact nor FC Dallas could point to a recent victory going into Saturday’s Saputo Stadium match-up. After playing to a scoreless draw, the local side is now winless in its last five outings and the visitors have to go back eight games to find their most recent positive result. Playing in front of 20,801 fans, the first sell-out crowd of the 2013 schedule, the Impact did everything but score as it outpaced the Texas side all evening long, denying the Hoops all but the most meagre of opportunities while directing 15 shots at the goal defended by Raul Fernandez, seven in the opening half and eight in the second 45 minutes of play, and tightening up the defence that had allowed far too many goals in recent outings. With Marco Di Vaio overseas at the moment, the Impact went with Daniele Paponi up top and used wingers Justin Mapp and Sanna Nyassi to support him, the three players linking up repeatedly in assaults on the Dallas goal, as the back line showed the shape and determination that was the cornerstone of Montreal’s early season success. Also significant in his efforts was midfielder Felipe, at the origin of several plays that finished with shots towards the visitors’ goal. The young Brazilian fed Paponi, Patrice Bernier and Davy Arnaud for chances within the first quarter-hour of play, all for naught ultimately, and Mapp, named Man of the Match, was constant threat on the right side, repeatedly crossing the ball to the goalmouth where teammates were unable to finish. Mapp also launched a few balls goalward himself, most notably in the 26th minute when he rattled a drive off the woodwork. While Montreal controlled the play and had the lion’s share of the opportunities, Dallas had a couple chances of its own in the opening period. Eric Hassli, had his kick at the can in the 10th minute, spinning and sending one towards the Impact goal from the top of the 18-metre box only to have a diving Troy Perkins push it off the mark. Dallas’s second and only other realistic chance at a marker came in the 36th minute when defender, Zach Lloyd, outpaced by Nyassi for the bulk of the game, crossed to Je-Vaughn Johnson who shot from just outside the six-meter box but was thwarted by Perkins, who only faced a half-dozen shots in the game, only two on target. Dallas ‘keeper Fernandez came up big in the final minute of the first half, blocking a Paponi shot and also handling the rebound that Arnaud directed his way, sending the teams into the interval deadlocked. Montreal continued its domination in the second half as tempers frayed and referee, Hilario Grajeda, began asserting his authority, issuing five yellow cards and calling a total of 33 fouls, 15 to Montreal and 18 to Dallas before the final whistle blew. The Impact upped its possession time from 58 per cent in the opening half to over 65 per cent in the second, directing eight shots towards Fernandez’ goal while only suffering a pair in return. The one that came closest to being considered a viable threat came in the 58th minute but was turned aside as the Impact counter-attacked, the sequence ending with a slow Arnaud roller to the Peruvian goalkeeper. Mapp, showing the form that he did in May and June when he was named the MVP of the Amway Canadian Championship, had a pair of chances, one after another in the 73rd minute when his shot, blocked by Fernandez, came right back to him. The Mississippian took another and had it stopped as well by the ‘keeper who made four saves on the night and had teammates block another half-dozen on his behalf. While the Impact were not able to come away with the three points that would have placed it back atop the MLS Eastern Conference, the draw was seen as a moral victory by head coach Marco Schallibaum. “I saw a team that had a strong spirit and was determined to win,” he said in his post-game comments. “We had a lot of chances, maybe not enough to win the game but we were very well organized and very strong defensively. “When you dominate the whole match the way we did and you don’t win it hurts a bit,” he admitted. “But our level of performance was very high tonight Justin and Sanna were on fire all game and I think both wingers are pretty tired tonight because they were going for the goal all game long. “We were just missing that last half metre or even 10 centimetres,” the Swiss gaffer opined. “With a bit of luck with the laterals in the second half we might have come away with three points instead of one but we showed another face tonight with a lot of the fighting spirit and I’m proud of the team’s performance tonight.” “It leaves a bit of a sour taste,” said defender Hassoun Camara about the single-point result. “We did everything to try to score but it was to no avail. There are no regrets about our performance and we just have to move forward and concentrate on Saturday’s game.” “We worked very hard tactically over the past week. We didn’t give them very much room and we defended through advancing up the pitch,” he continued. “There were two or three times we could have scored, thanks to Justin, but the fates were against us. I think we can be satisfied with the efforts we put out tonight and we have to continue to work in the next week leading up to the game against Kansas City next Saturday.” Midfielder Bernier also declared himself satisfied with his side’s performance. “We may have been a little lacking in efficiency in front of the goal but in terms of performance, it was day and night compared to the past few matches,” he ventured. “At least we’re competing. We’re pushing. We changed things a little and with only one forward there are adjustments to be made. We have to send more people to the area. In the end, the performance was there and we can be happy with it and move forward from it.” The locally born defender also contrasted tonight’s efforts with those of recent outings “We gave up too many goals recently, playing far too open in our north-south game than we should have but tonight we controlled the play. They only had a couple chances on shots from distance and set pieces, which is their strength,” he said. “We controlled the game, didn’t panic, and at the end we were the team pushing forward, like we were doing before. We may not have scored but at least we kept our foot on the gas. We just have to keep on working and the goals will come, it’s just a matter of time,” he concluded. The Impact’s next first-squad match is at home next Saturday to Sporting Kansas City. THROW-INS: While midfielders Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Calum Mallace, both loaned to Minnesota of the NASL last week, only combined for three MLS appearances this season, totaling 44 minutes of play, they were of greater service in Reserve League play with Mallace logging 489 minutes over six games and Ubiparipovic playing four complete matches. • Impact midfielders Davy Arnaud and Blake Smith are both Texas natives while director of soccer operations, Matt Jordan was drafted 10th overall by the Dallas Burn in the 1998 draft. FC Dallas has four Lone Star natives on their roster, defender Kelley Acosta, midfielder Bradlee Baladez, and forward Jonathan Top, none of whom have seen action yet this season. • Long-time Division II opponents Rochester Rhinos visit Saputo Stadium on Sunday afternoon to take on the Impact reserve team for the second of two scheduled games this season. The teams played to a 1-1 draw at Sahlen’s Stadium June 7. The teams have met 52 times with the Impact’s 27-17-8 record giving Montreal a decided edge in regular season competition.