This time last year, the Montreal Impact and Houston Dynamo were in the midst of fighting for a playoff spot. The two clubs would eventually meet in the quarter-finals (with disastrous results for the Impact).
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This year, the story isn’t as good for either team. The Dynamo are sitting 8th in the MLS Eastern Conference, thanks to inconsistency and injuries.
Montreal meanwhile, are in dead last in Major League Soccer. Although the addition of Ignacio Piatti has energized the team and lead to some positive results as of late, the season has still been a rough one for the Bleu, Blanc, Noir.
So the two struggling sides would meet at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, each trying to break their streak of poor performance.
The match would start off well for Montreal.
In only the third minute, Andres Romero put a gorgeous ball in behind the defense for Marco Di Vaio. The Italian striker took a good first touch, but shot well wide from inside the 18 yard box. Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric pressured him into a rushed shot.
After that, Houston began controlling the play. Eric Miller hauled down his man in the box in the 15th minute. There were cries for a penalty from the home supporters, but the referee said play on. Miller was in the lineup in place of Hassoun Camara, who was serving a suspension.
The Dynamo got a break in the 30′. Giles Barnes beat Krzysztof Krol and had a free run at goal. Krol had absolutely no support and the back line seemed to be caught napping. Barnes dribbled into the box and calmly slide it past Evan Bush.
Ten minutes later, Felipe had some time at the top of the box. He turned and found Dilly Duka, who toe-poked it past Deric to tie the game.
In the second half, Montreal kept the throttle down. Houston was holding a high back line and Di Vaio flicked the ball through to Nacho Piatti. The Argentine new boy out paced the defenders and placed the ball in the bottom corner.
Piatti would do a complete, head-over-heels flip of the goalkeeper, but came up no worse for wear.
Sep 6, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Montreal Impact player Ignacio Piatti (10) scores a goal past Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric (24) during the second half at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Sadly for the Impact, it was all Dynamo from there.
In the 62′, Omar Cummings was allowed to walk into the box and found Barnes, who deflected it expertly into the far corner. It was really well done by Barnes and Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush couldn’t do anything about it.
Only a few minutes later, American international Brad Davis put in a beautiful corner kick into the box. It fell right to Ricardo Clark, who made the goal look pretty with an impressive volley finish.
3-2 Houston – Final
There were a few shouts for a penalty when a Montreal player was taken out in the box, but as he did in the early going, the ref said play on.
Another solid performance by the Impact, but it proves, their defense is still a problem. Matteo Ferrari struggled in the first half and was subbed off for Heath Pearce, who didn’t do too much better.
Krol also had an out of character game. The left back has made a name for himself by turning in strong performances for Montreal and this match was a tough one for him.
On the other hand, the Impact are scoring and if they can tighten up their back line, they will start winning again.
Coach Klopas on what he thought of his side’s play (via press release);
"“The game was under control in the first half. We scored that second goal, but in the final third, we could have done a little better. A few mistakes cost us, but in the end, a clear penalty at the end of the game and it’s not called. The league has to do something because it’s embarrassing.” – Frank Klopas"
Montreal will be receiving the LA Galaxy for a mid-week bout on September 10th, before travelling to Gillette Stadium to play the New England Revolution on Saturday the 13th.