By Eve Powell // @evejulia9
Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact
If yesterday’s match between the Montréal Impact and Toronto FC have you a feeling some déjà vu, you’re not alone – it was the second time in four days the two rivals faced off. However, this time it was on TFC’s home turf and with several important changes to both teams.
For the home side, Jozy Altidore returned to the starting lineup after an absence for personal reasons, while the Impact saw Saphir Taïder and Samuel Pierre return to midfield after each had welcomed a child.
The opening phase of play seemed as though TFC were picking up where they’d left off after winning 1-0 at Stade Saputo. However, after goalkeeper Quentin Westberg conceded a preventable corner, Impact defender Rudy Camacho played the unlikely hero as he headed in the lone goal for the visitors in the 14th minute.
Nonetheless, the Reds continued to dominate possession and cause real trouble for the Bleu-Blanc-Noir, culminating in Camacho turning from hero to villain as the defender tugged Altidore down, conceding a penalty in the 43rd minute. Alejandro Pozuelo attempted to troll the Impact by having Pablo Piatti score against them, but the goal was chalked off as Piatti was judged to have encroached before Pozuelo passed him the ball. Per the laws of the game, the penalty was not retaken, and the first half ended with Montréal clinging to an unlikely 1-0 lead.
Having ended the first half on such a sour note, TFC came out guns blazing in the second half as they laid siege to the Impact. In the few spells where the Impact had possession of note, the team was opportunistic on the counter and showed more attacking threat, although they will undoubtedly pencil some crossing work into their training schedule.
As the match wore on and Montréal players continued to throw the bodies in the way of passes and engage in a tough physical battle it became clear that the stars were aligning. After eight long minutes of injury time -mainly due to a VAR intervention to overturn a red card on Emmanuel Maciel – Thierry Henry could celebrate his first BMO Field win as Impact coach.
TFC will rue that none of the 20 shots they took found the back of the net, and will have particular regrets about the lack of respect shown on the flubbed penalty, as their 18-match unbeaten streak has come to an end. The Impact on the other hand will take great heart in the team victory where despite having played three times in a week, the players truly left it all on the field to walk away with a well-earned victory and three crucial points.
The Impact will now benefit from a week’s rest before finishing their three-match rivalry battle at home on Wednesday, September 9th. TFC take off to Vancouver to face the Whitecaps for the third and final time on Saturday, September 5th.
Featured image: Montréal Impact
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