It was a night of firsts for the Montreal Impact. By defeating Sporting Kansas City 2-0 at Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday, the Impact logged their first-ever away win in MLS and shut out an opponent for the first time this season – all against the first-place team in the Eastern Conference.
HIGHLIGHTS: Sporting KC 0, Montreal 2
Helping the team with a first of his own was Brossard, Québec, native Patrice Bernier (above, center). The Impact’s No. 8 bossed his team’s midfield and stepped up to coolly slot home a second-half penalty. Not only was it his first goal in MLS, it was also his first as an Impact player since August 25, 2002.
“I was thinking the team needed maybe eight or nine games to develop our reflexes and our sense of what we’re about,” Bernier told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the game. “A team with a lot of new faces showed that we have a lot of depth and a lot of quality players, which will make the coach’s decisions difficult. We’ve shown over the last few games that we’re there in every game and that we’re a tough team to play against.”
With rumors about the possible arrival of Italian striker Marco Di Vaio swirling this week, the Impact responded on Saturday by showing a striking efficiency: They scored two goals on six attempts towards Jimmy Nielsen’s net, and such proficiency pleases Bernier.
“We’re showing the efficiency we’d been lacking in front of goal in preseason and at the beginning of the season,” he said. “We’re showing we can put away the few chances we create. We’re showing we can win away from home. This win showcased our character going into a busy stretch of games.”
The Impact will switch competitions again next week Wednesday, as they travel to Ontario to face rivals Toronto FC in the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinals after a scoreless first leg. The team’s away outing at Kansas City could spell trouble for TFC, who have not exactly turned BMO Field into a fortress.
“We dominated Toronto, but we weren’t as efficient as today,” Bernier said. “But we created numerous chances and should have been leading 1-0 or 2-0 in the first half. … We saw today that we’re solid defensively, that we can hold possession and that we can create attacks as needed.”