East-leading Montreal Impact admit coming out "a bit timid" after long break ends with loss to Crew

Maybe the time off wasn't such a good thing after all.

After two weeks without a game, the Impact were welcomed back to MLS action with a thud: two goals in less than 20 minutes sealing the deal in a 2-0 shutout loss to the Columbus Crew on Saturday night.

“We trained well during the week, but we came out a bit timid,” said assistant coach Mauro Biello, who replaced the suspended Marco Schallibaum, after the match. “We still created chances in the first half, that’s for sure. Andrew Wenger got two big chances. But today, in attack, it was a bit difficult. When you make two mistakes on the road, it’s tough to make up for them.”

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Yet they almost did. After Crew forward Dominic Oduro added his goal to Matías Sánchez’s sixth-minute opener, Wenger found himself in one-on-one situations against Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum. Yet he wasn't able to convert.

“An early goal is always going to take the wind out of your sails right away, but I don’t think it was the case here,” defender Jeb Brovsky told MLSsoccer.com by phone from Columbus. “We had so much time to get it back, and we definitely had chances in the first half that we should have put away. I think we can all point to ourselves individually and say that that first half could have been better.”

For the Crew it could not have been a better opening 45 minutes, especially for Oduro, who had a goal and assist in addition to being a constant nuisance to the Impact.

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Oduro certainly “pounced on a mistake and made us pay,” as Biello put it. But he also helped the Crew isolate Montreal center backs Hassoun Camara and Matteo Ferrari, who often found limited forward passing options as Oduro pushed them back.

“We certainly talked about watching him in behind,” Brovsky said. “He found space, he created space and I think Oduro definitely stretches the field for them. Credit to him for doing it today, but as a backline, we just needed to communicate a little bit better and we have a chance coming up against Houston to rectify things.”

Olivier Tremblay covers the Montreal Impact for MLSsoccer.com