MONTREAL – Wednesday's Québec-Ontario battle in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinals was unquestionably the least exciting game played at the Olympic Stadium this season, and Montreal Impact head coach Jesse Marsch places the blame squarely on the men in red.
Marsch looked disappointed with the result as he met the press after his side’s 0-0 draw against their Canadian rivals, but mostly, he sounded frustrated by Aron Winter’s approach at the Big O.
“It’s pretty clear what their intentions were, coming here,” Marsch told reporters. “I thought that our ideas and attempts to try and break them down and our ideas for how to try and push that game were good, but they just put a lot of numbers behind the ball.”
The Reds did indeed make matters difficult for the Impact, who regularly lacked space to play in the final third. Toronto defended deep, with numbers, and prevented the Impact from making that final, killer pass.
But in spite of all this, Marsch does feel that the general performance of his team is nothing to be upset about, especially considering that a wide range of results at BMO Field could see the Impact through.
“Some of the final plays didn't come off exactly the way that we would like, but we're continuing to move that along,” Marsch said. “Our team had a really good grasp on this game. There's no doubt about that. I don't think there was any moment in the game that got away from us. We had really control of this; we just couldn't get a goal.
“I think we had some good moments in the first half that could have led to a goal, but we weren’t able to pull off a play,” the coach continued. “It’s good to have a clean sheet. We go there and any kind of tie with goals or win on our end, and we go through.”
Team captain Davy Arnaud, for his part, hinted that the Impact might have been unsettled by the totally new situation they found themselves in: a team coming to Montreal to sit deep and wait for a counter.
“We didn’t concede, we played fairly well and it’s the first time, all year, that we faced a team that’s come and packed 11 guys behind the ball and played for the 0-0,” Arnaud explained. “In the end, we’re disappointed we didn’t get the win.”