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Eastern Conference Championship

Montreal Impact pleased with strong defensive effort in rare road result at Vancouver

The Montreal Impact have yet to win at BC Place. Tonight, they won’t mind one bit.

They’re 0-1-2 in all competitions at the Vancouver Whitecaps’ home. But Montreal’s latest result there, Wednesday’s 0-0 tie, was uplifting. While it’s been tough for Montreal this season in general (2-7-5), it’s been even tougher on the road, where their goal difference is the second-worst in MLS.

It didn’t show on Wednesday.

“The play tonight, I think, showed a lot of heart and character,” head coach Frank Klopas told reporters postgame. “I know, the first half, that we talked about being a little bit better with the ball, because when we had it, I think we were forcing too many plays looking to hit them on transition. But then, you come on the road against a very explosive team. I thought we defended very well.

“I don’t want to say it in English, but I think the whole team showed a lot of cojones tonight.”

In the absence of Marco Di Vaio, Justin Mapp and Felipe – the latter became a father on Wednesday – Montreal could call upon center back Matteo Ferrari for the first time since April 26 and used left back Maxim Tissot further up as a left winger.

Compact and waiting for the counter, Montreal effectively ended the game with seven defenders on the field as Eric Miller and Wandrille Lefevre checked in. With help from goalkeeper Troy Perkins who had an excellent night – and a likely Save of the Week candidate on a second-half Pedro Morales free kick – the plan produced the desired effects.

“[Lefèvre and Miller] are guys that are comfortable with the ball,” Klopas said. “They’re good size, they defend well and they were fresh. I would prefer to have some more options attacking-wise, but I try to use the best with what I had going tonight and the guys did a great job.”

Montreal are back in action this Sunday against the Houston Dynamo at Stade Saputo (7:30 pm ET, MLS Live), where they said au revoir to their fans with a 4-2 home loss to D.C. United before the World Cup break. A road point and a clean sheet are a fine way to start making it up to them.

“You get a point in a difficult place, and now we have to continue,” Klopas said. “It’s a good game to rebound after the break, but now we have to focus on the game Sunday. Now we’ve got to get on a roll and start getting some points.”