MONTREAL – As Will Bruin coolly slotted the ball past a sliding Donovan Ricketts in the 45th minute of the Impact’s game against the Houston Dynamo, Montrealers' hearts broke for two reasons.
The first was that Bruin’s goal was brilliantly assisted by their nemesis, Brian Ching, who after being selected by Montreal in last year's MLS Expansion Draft made it very clear he only wanted to play in a Dynamo uniform. The second was that the same thing happened back in March when the New York Red Bulls drew level at the very end of the first half en route to a 5-2 thrashing of the Impact at Red Bull Arena.
This time, though, the Impact stormed onto the Stade Saputo field for the second half with a point to prove, scoring twice in an eventual 4-2 win to soothe their fans’ hearts and put one of their demons behind them.
HIGHLIGHTS: MTL 4, HOU 2
“At halftime, we said, 'Alright, right now, more than anything, this is a mental challenge,'" head coach Jesse Marsch told reporters after the game. "'Can we mentally recover from giving up that goal and be men, handle this game in the right way and push forward?’ And you know what? They did great.”
Red Bull Arena and Stade Saputo are two completely different settings, however, and midfielder Justin Mapp feels that being at home – and the sizzling house-warming party the Impact threw against the Sounders last Saturday – gave the players the lift they needed.
“I thought we played really well in the first half,” Mapp said. “It’s obviously frustrating to give up that late goal at the end of the first half, but we knew we were playing well and we came out with a home mentality, kind of like our last home game.”
With eight goals in two games at Stade Saputo, plenty of positives emerge for the Montreal club. With that being said, four goals in one night make it easy to forget about the two that were conceded.
Marsch, however, feels that while keeping things tight at the back is an everyday challenge and, on the night, they largely kept the Dynamo at bay.
“I think we grew up a bit tonight," Marsch added, "and that was great to see.”