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Final

Montreal Impact take heart from improved defensive performance in loss to Houston Dynamo

The Montreal Impact promised they’d train hard not to concede three goals like last weekend in Dallas. They didn’t.

Everything-a-Striker-Touches-Turn-to-Gold can sometimes outdo any plan, however, and Will Bruin's deflected goal off of right back Eric Miller made the difference on Saturday for the Houston Dynamo as they prevailed by a 1-0 scoreline at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Yet Montreal Impact assistant coach Mauro Biello dismissed misfortune, which “evens out in the end,” he said. Instead, he commended the Impact’s improvements at the back – with a nod to midfield pair Hernan Bernardello and Patrice Bernier for their efforts in keeping the defensive block compact.

Still, Biello conceded, it was “disappointing not to leave with at least a point.”

“But I think there was a lot of positives, given how many chances we created on the road,” Biello told MLSsoccer.com by phone. "We played well defensively … and with what we were looking for defensively and what we’d worked on, I think we can be happy with what we saw tonight.”

“We know them well because of how they played against us last year,” Biello continued. “We were expecting this, and we were ready for it. A bit of bad luck, and a little lack of finishing, and we lost the game. But our defensive block and how it moved, we did well.”

After seven encounters in the last two years, few secrets remain between Houston and Montreal. Even so, the visitors sprang a surprise in their starting XI, shifting Justin Mapp to the left and moving Collen Warner from defensive midfielder to right-mid – where he’d last played in late 2012 – to make up for the injury to winger Sanna Nyassi.

“It was a tactical choice we made to neutralize their left side,” Biello said. “And I think Warner did very well, because we were able to be better than them in possession and create chances.”

The Impact will nonetheless hop on a plane to Montreal with no points to show from their first road trip of the season. But, Biello said, the players are coming back home with confidence in their abilities – and chasing the game in Houston may provide valuable lessons.

“It’s not easy coming here in Houston and forcing the play like that,” Biello said. “We saw New England last week, they took four goals and weren’t in the game all night. For us, coming here and forcing the play until the end, we have to take it very positively.”