Home MLS Montreal Impact Schallibaum on Impact after comeback win: “They never gave up”

Schallibaum on Impact after comeback win: “They never gave up”

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Twice tying the score before getting the winner in extra time, the Montreal Impact climbed back into first place in the MLS Eastern Conference with a 3-2 decision over Real Salt Lake in a hard-fought, physical battle that had the home team get the game-winner in extra time.

“That’s a reason I like this team, they never give up,” said head coach Marco Schallibaum. “Today we played against a really good team and with our program the last two weeks (six games in 18 days) it’s amazing what they did on the field and their will to do well. They can play good football or they can play good football and also have lots of character. They showed that again today.”

Things did not start well for the home team as an own goal put it down in the opening minutes of play. Seven minutes after the opening whistle, RSL defender Lovel Palmer’s drive deflected off Matteo Ferrari’s foot and over Troy Perkins into the mesh.

Montreal managed to even things up before the first half came to an end despite showing signs of fatigue linked to having to play six games in an 18-day span. The visiting side dominated in the opening 45 minutes, making 11 attempts on the Impact goal while only having to defend against a half dozen forays on the part of their hosts.

That the Impact did not go into the interval having allowed more than one goal was due to their back line, with the homegrown Maxim Tissot replacing Dennis Iapichino on the left side, and giving a good account of himself. He’s also feeling more comfortable on the pitch as he accumulates playing time.

“I’m feeling more and more confident,” he said. “I’m not at 100 per cent yet. I don’t express myself as well as I did with the Academy but that will come with time and experience.”

Also playing a big part in keeping things close in the opening half was goaltender Perkins, who, at the quarter-hour mark, stopped a point-blank shot from the foot of forward Olmes Garcia, set up by a Sebastian Velasquez service. Three minutes later Garcia, this time on a pass from midfielder Javier Morales, sent the ball sailing high and wide of the mark.
Montreal pulled even on a Felipe goal, his second of the present campaign, in the 39th. Defender Jeb Brovsky began the play with a crisp pass up the pitch to Justin Mapp. The midfielder crossed the ball into the area in front of RSL goalkeeper, Nick Rimando, from where the sliding Brazilian midfielder drove it home.

Playing with more intensity in the second half the Impact had 11 tries at the Salt Lake goal, the first coming in the 50th minute courtesy of Andrew Wenger after RSL had buzzed around the Montreal end to begin the half. The young forward took a Brovsky pass and loosed a left-footed shot towards the lower left corner of the goal that Rimando got to in time.

The physical element became more evident in the second half with several players going to ground as the time ticked away although referee Allen Chapman preferred to call players back to order rather than sanctioning them, handing out warnings to Montreal’s Hassoun Camara and RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy in the opening half and not recording any names again until added time.

Javier Morales was at the origin of the second Salt Lake goal. The Argentine forward’s 77th-minute corner kick made it to Kyle Beckerman at the top of the area. He drove it into the bottom left hand corner behind Perkins.

Giving up a go-ahead goal so late in a match would have deflated the 2012 Impact, but did not deter this year’s edition in its determination to press on as time ran low. The efforts were rewarded three minutes later to the delight of the vast majority of the crowd, announced at 14,578.

Tissot found Wenger, who slipped the ball to Marco Di Vaio in the middle of the box — and the Italian striker picked up his sixth goal in as many home games when he redirected the ball, glancing it off the inside of the right post and into the mesh.

Three minutes of extra time was added and the Impact waited until it had almost all elapsed before nailing down the win with the victory coming off a set piece. Rookie Blake Smith sailed his corner kick into the centre of the box where it found a waiting Ferrari, who headed it into the Salt Lake net sending the crowd streaming happily towards the exits and atoning for his own goal in the early minutes with his first MLS marker.

“I was sad for the team because I was unlucky. The worst way to start the game was with an own goal,” the Italian defender declared. “But we showed good character to come back twice and at the end we have three points that are very important for us.

“It was not easy for me after (Thierry) Henry’s bicycle kick last game and the own goal today. The last three days were not very easy. I had a good answer at the end so I’m happy for the team because we showed the character that we have.”

“We showed a lot of will and character, coming from behind twice,” said midfielder Patrice Bernier, who wore the captain’s armband Saturday afternoon. “Like we’ve already mentioned good teams have to pick themselves up after a loss and we showed that we can do that. It goes to show how everyone participates in a victory, it’s not the same guy doing all the scoring, and everyone chips in. We were a bit more enthusiastic in the second half. We showed some energy and the will to move it forward and even the score.”

“There was a lot of drama to today’s game,” he continued. “Perhaps the game was not wonderful in terms of the overall play but we were able to take advantage of our chances and come back from behind. It’s nice to see that over a tough stretch of games we can continue to put up positive results.”

The Impact returna to Saputo Stadium on Wednesday when it meets the Vancouver Whitecaps in the opening leg of the finals of the Amway Canadian Championship.

THROW-INS – Real Salt Lake has never won a match in Canada.

• Real Salt Lake midfielder Chris Schuler is the only RSL player to have been on the pitch for every minute his side has played so far this season while goalkeeper Troy Perkins and defender Jeb Brovsky are the Impact Iron Men.

• Homegrown Impact goaltender, Maxime Crepeau, celebrated his 19th birthday today while midfielder, Sanna Nyassi, made his 100th MLS appearance.

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