MONTREAL — It’s tough to win on the road in MLS, the cliché goes, and every season, three or four teams embody it. Unfortunately for the Montreal Impact, this season, they are one of those teams.
On Saturday, the Houston Dynamo handed the Impact their 10th loss away from home this season — against one win and one tie — a 3-0 defeat that will leave more mental than physical scars in the Montreal ranks.
Disorderly play towards the end of the previous meeting between the two teams could have rubbed off on this game, but roughhousing was not an issue and Macoumba Kandji’s early goal — as well as its circumstances — was what wounded Montreal the most.
Full Highlights: HOU 3, MTL 0
“In the first 10 minutes, we were definitely going at them,” midfielder Lamar Neagle (pictured above, right) told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the game. “We had a few chances, and then, it was probably one of the first times they had possession in our half and they ended up getting the goal. That definitely calmed them down and gave them time to relax and keep the ball.”
Impact Academy product Karl Ouimette, who was given his MLS debut 26 minutes into the game after Zarek Valentin injured his left ankle, was still on the bench as he saw his teammates try to recover. In the toughest stadium for away teams in MLS, he feels they delivered a proper effort.
“Our mentality was good after the first goal,” Ouimette said. “We’ve been telling ourselves for a long time to keep working hard, and we showed character in order to push the game and create chances through sheer work.”
Though Ouimette was generally satisfied with his individual performance at right back, Houston’s two late goals will make his debut a slightly bittersweet memory for a while.
The good news for Ouimette and his teammates is that they will hit the road only once in the next five weeks, and if the Impact want to cling onto their hopes of making the MLS playoffs, learning lessons from their Texas journey and making Stade Saputo as hostile an environment as BBVA Compass Stadium will be a must.
“It’s going to be huge for us,” Neagle said. “We haven't really been able to get momentum going, like a four- or five-game winning streak, this year, so hopefully, at home, we can take care or business pretty good.”