MONTREAL – Talk about a goal that zaps the legs.
The way the Montreal Impact had been playing, it looked like they were good for at least a point against the Chicago Fire on Saturday. But as a result of Alex’s splendid finish past Troy Perkins in the 61st minute of the game, the energy seemed to drain from the Montreal players’ bodies – the goal, defender Hassoun Camara said on Tuesday, “was like a whack to the head.”
After the eventual 3-1 loss, head coach Jesse Marsch notably commented that his players “looked a little tired after that.”
Marsch’s assessment, while absolutely correct, did sound a tad strange considering that his players had enjoyed a two-week break before facing a Chicago team with a midweek game in Toronto still in their legs. Some 60 hours later, though, there was a consensus in the Impact camp that there was little to no actual fatigue involved.
“For the most part, I don’t think we were tired,” Marsch told reporters on Tuesday. “We were, I felt, on top of the game. Maybe a couple of guys here and there were feeling it a little bit, but for the most part, I felt like that game was under control. That game was under control from a lot of different perspectives. Then we made bad mistakes and we gave it away.”
Among those mistakes was how Montreal sometimes made life easier for Chicago by conceding possession deep, and not just for Alex’s goal, midfielder Patrice Bernier pointed out. He insisted that, no matter what the obstacles might be, it is crucial for the Impact that all 11 players on the field be on the same page.
“Sometimes, after two weeks off, reflexes aren’t there right from the start,” Bernier said. “You might feel fresher, but other teams that keep playing can be on a roll if they play regularly.”