SEATTLE — After winning just twice and claiming nine points on the road for the entire 2012 campaign, the Montreal Impact opened their second MLS season with a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders on Saturday.
The Impact won’t earn any style points as they were mostly content to defend, but one moment of beauty from Davy Arnaud was enough to pull out the victory. Though Seattle controlled possession throughout and won nine corner kicks, Alessandro Nesta marshaled the Montreal back line superbly to make sure Arnaud’s 35th-minute goal stood up as the game-winner.
In a first half dominated by the Sounders, it was Arnaud who supplied the only quantifiable moment. The Impact’s captain controlled a ball at the top of the penalty area that Felipe had chipped over a pair of defenders from about 40 yards out. Arnaud brought it down and hit a right-footed half-volley that floated over Michael Gspurning after the 6-foot-5 goalkeeper wandered a bit too far off his line.
Arnaud was kept onside by Leo Gonzalez, who got caught in no-man’s land with no other defender within five yards of him.
Arnaud had a golden opportunity to push the lead to 2-0 in the 64th minute when Sanna Nyassi found him just a few yards out from goal. But Gspurning was able to get just enough of the header to deflect it off the crossbar.
Both before and after Arnaud’s goal, the game was controlled almost exclusively by the Sounders.
Eddie Johnson (right, being tackled by Hassoun Camara) had a particularly frustrating evening. The Sounders’ leading scorer from a year ago had a handful of good looks but was unable to finish any of them, with his most frustrating miss arriving in the 81st minute.
Gonzalez sent a low cross into the penalty area that Alex Caskey back-heeled to a wide open Johnson. The forward was able to get a clean touch on it, but his shot hit off the crossbar.
Brad Evans also came within inches of tying the game in the 65th minute. While the midfielder’s shot from 25 yards out beat goalkeeper Troy Perkins, it rang off the right post.
The Sounders also lost midfielder Andy Rose to injury, who had to leave the game with what was called an elbow contusion. His status was unknown.
The Impact improved to 2-0-0 all-time against the Sounders, whose record on opening day dropped to 3-2-0.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Davy Arnaud (MTL)||Scored the winner with a delicate finish and threatened on several other dangerous Impact counters.|
|2||Alessandro Nesta (MTL)||Italian veteran was elegant and effective in his leadership of the Montreal defense.|
|3||DeAndre Yedlin (SEA)||Sounders Homegrown got the start in his first-ever MLS match and acquitted himself quite well.|