Montreal Impact Win 1-1; Cameron Porter The Hero

Firstly, I’ve always wanted to use a headline like that. “Impact Win 1-1” I love it!

As time was winding down in the second half and Pachuca was using their ‘time management strategies’ I could see the result. The Impact, letting it slip away just like they did in 2009

And then, it happened. I do not think I need to explain what ‘it’ is.

Breaks like that don’t happen for the Impact. They don’t happen to Montreal. Heck, they don’t happen to Canada (with the exception of hockey games against Russia I suppose.)

Porter Enters Impact Folklore

In only Cameron Porter’s second professional game, he has already turned into a legend. His incredible goal is hands down, without a doubt the biggest marker in franchise history. When the ball crossed the line and the celebration commenced, I was reminded of two similar events.

Mar 3, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Montreal Impact forward Cameron Porter (39) reacts with teammates after scoring a goal against CF Pachuca during the second half at Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

1. Karl Ouimette nodding home this header at the back post against the Philadelphia Union to clinch the Impact a spot in the postseason for the first time ever.

2. A player named Tony Watt. Watt, then only 19-years-old and playing for Celtic F.C., was subbed on late in a UEFA Champions League match versus the world’s best team, F.C. Barcelona. Watt ended up scoring the game winning goal in dramatic fashion.

I can picture Porter becoming a stalwart with the Impact for years to come. He could be their Jordan Eberle of sorts. Then again, I’m probably still amped up on the game’s excitement.

One thing did bother me, though. Why was Cameron Porter on the pitch?

The Impact had three strikers available to them; Dominic Oduro, Jack McInerney and Porter. Where was Romario Williams, he of the 3rd overall draft selection?

Why was Porter – who was drafted in the 3rd round and who’s signing flew under the radar – on the bench and not Williams? But hey, I’m definitely not complaining!

Did Montreal Deserve To Win?

I really don’t want to delve into what I thought was wrong with the Impact on such an amazing night. However, there are some things that worried me, like Montreal refusing to attack!

I understand sitting back, trying to hold on to the lead and hope for a draw, but the Bleu, Blanc, Noir were putting ten men behind the ball right from the get go. When the Impact had a corner early in the second half, there were only three men in the Pachuca penalty area. With the possession numbers (64% to 36% in favour of the Mexicans), Pachuca was bound to score!

I think the team spirit was fantastic tonight. Everyone understands the kind of commitment, dedication and hard work we need to buy into, that’s the winning mentality and grit that we were missing before. – Frank Klopas

Despite these strategy implementations, the players on the field did very well.

At the back, Evan Bush communicated well with his back line and came up with the big save when he was asked to do so. Victor Cabara, Laurent Ciman and Baky Soumare made a few mistakes, but all in all were solid. Donny Toia played exceptionally at left-back.

The attacking midfielders were good, although they seemed to drop out at certain points in the game. I think I heard Justin Mapp’s name called once in the first half, while after the halftime break, he was all over the place. The same can be said for Ignacio Piatti and Dilly Duka, only they were more prominent in the first 45.

There seemed to be a disconnect between the striker, Dominic Oduro and the midfield. I counted four or five balls that were that were too heavy, not heavy enough or out of Oduro’s reach. When McInerney came on, Montreal was in defense mode and it would be unfair to judge Jack Mac on those 15 minutes or so. Porter, well, I think we all know how he did.

I believe there is a problem in the holding midfield. Marco Donadel was strong on the ball defensively, but just couldn’t seem to complete a pass moving forward. Nigel Reo-Coker (who was wearing the arm band for the Impact) looked to tire and hung on to the ball too long on a few occasions.

I’m a big fan of Calum Mallace, who sent that 40 yard Hail Mary up to Porter. I think he’s a hustler and would like to see him get a full 90 in in Klopas’ system.

What’s Next?

The next match for the Montreal Impact is scheduled for Saturday, March 7 at D.C. United, but with the MLS CBA negotiations ongoing, there have been doubts raised as to whether the season will get going on time.

As for the Impact in the Champions League, they will have to wait and see who wins between Alajuelense, of Costa Rica and the only other MLS club still in the competition, D.C. United. The Costa Rican side won 5-2 at home in their first match, meaning United has a tall task ahead if they want to make it an all-MLS semi-final. The return leg in the U.S. will be played on March 4.

The Impact and the winner of the above quarter-final will play the first leg of their semi-final home-and-home on either March 17, 18 or 19, with the second game being on April 7, 8 or 9.

On the other side of the bracket, America (Mexico) has almost guaranteed themselves a spot in the semis with a 3-0 away victory against Saprissa (Costa Rica). In the other quarter-final, Herediano (Costa Rica) and Olimpia (Honduras) drew 1-1 in their first game.

For those Montreal Impact fans who are optimists, the CONCACAF Champions League Final is set for April 22 and April 29.

Judging by the drama in this game, I wouldn’t want to miss it.

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