Home MLS Montreal Impact Schallibaum: Crew continues to be the Impact’s “bête noire”

Schallibaum: Crew continues to be the Impact’s “bête noire”

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With Sporting Kansas City enjoying a weekend off and New York Red Bulls hosting Toronto later Saturday, this game against the Columbus Crew was an opportunity for the Montreal Impact to at least reduce the number of teams with whom it was deadlocked atop the MLS Eastern Conference by at least one team.

Unable to make the most of its chances, the Impact went down to a 2-1 defeat, playing a half-fast game that saw it unable to capitalize on most of the opportunities created by its uptempo play in the opening half. And, the Impact allowed a pair of goals in the final 45 to drop only its second game at home this season.

“They’re our bête noire,” said head coach Marco Schallibaum after the match. “We’ve played them three times without winning.”

“There wasn’t a lot missing today,” he continued. “A centimetre’s difference here or there and things might have been different but the game’s like that. Even though we came away empty-handed today we are still on track to achieve the objectives we set at the beginning of the season.”

The teams traded breakaways in the early going with, the Impact getting the first kick at the can in the ninth minute, but Justin Map had difficulty controlling a bouncing delivery from fellow midfielder, Felipe, his troubles allowing Columbus goalkeeper Matt Lampson to easily grab the ball.

Moments later the Crew came knocking in the person of Dominic Oduro. The midfielder, who began the game tied with captain Federico Higuain for team lead with nine goals, drilled a rising shot towards the Montreal goal that keeper Troy Perkins managed to push over the bar.

The Impact got the almost-capacity crowd of 20,210 up and hollering in the 23rd minute, taking a lead as Marco Di Vaio increased his league-leading goal tally to 18 so far this season. The scoring play was begun by midfielder Patrice Bernier’s cross. It found Matteo Ferrari on the edge of the six-metre box, the defender heading it towards countryman Di Vaio who, in turn, gently bounced it off his forehead, over Columbus ‘keeper Lampson’s head and into the mesh behind him.

Several other chances came the Impact’s way before the whistle sent the teams into their dressing rooms for the interval.

Three minutes after the Di Vaio marker, referee Baldomero Toledo did not feel that Montreal should benefit from a shot from the spot, though a Columbus hand ball in the penalty area was by far the group consensus from the refs in the stands.

In the 30th, Di Vaio had a chance for a second goal, getting on the end of a Felipe pass but having it blocked by Lampson, who handled five of the six chances he had.

Five minutes later the former Italian star provided the service for another attempt, but Impact captain Davy Arnaud was unable to get on the end of the pass. A resulting free kick, taken by Mapp, bounced around inside the penalty area before Bernier sent it flying over the goal and well into the crowd.

Montreal midfielder Collen Warner, Felipe and Di Vaio combined for an attempt in the 43rd that failed but resulted in Columbus defender, Chad Marshall, briefly receiving treatment on the sidelines after he and Di Vaio went up for a ball.

Seconds before the opening half whistle sounded defender Jeb Brovsky, his rolling shot easily handled by Lampson, who was without a doubt the most occupied member of the visiting side.

Columbus forced the play in the early minutes of the second half but were unable to pierce the Montreal defence until fifteen minutes had been played and the home side’s Mapp and Di Vaio had combined for two more fruitless attempts.

A Warner foul in the 66th resulted in a Columbus free kick taken by Higuain and headed into the Impact goal by Marshall, his marker coming following an interval of 378 days since he last found the back of a goal.

The visitors took the lead in the 79th as Higuain delivered a long lob pass into the six-metre box that Oduro managed to get on the end of and gently urge it into the goal behind Perkins.

“Even though we came away empty-handed today,” declared Schallibaum as he ended his post-game remarks. “We are still on track to meet the objectives we set for ourselves at the beginning of the season.”

The Impact leave Monday for San Jose to play the Earthquakes on Tuesday in CONCACAF competition and meet the Vancouver Whitecaps at Saputo Stadium next Saturday.

THROW-INS – Named the MLS Player of the Week for last week’s performance, Impact striker Marco Di Vaio began the day leading the league in goals (17), shots on target (45), multi-goal matches (4) and game-winners (5).

• Impact defender Matteo Ferrari made his 50th MLS appearance as part of the team’s starting XI in this afternoon’s game.

• Jeb Brovsky’s next yellow card, which would be his fifth of the season, will earn the defender a one-game suspension.

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