The good news for the Montreal Impact players is that a game on Saturday against the Chicago Fire can help them take their minds off this cold Wednesday night.
After a largely mistake-free first half at BMO Field against Toronto FC in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinals, Montreal committed the kind of slipups one wants to forget right away in the second. Two costly giveaways opened the door for the Reds to claim the encounter by a score of 2-0, and it was an outcome that the Impact staff could not dispute.
“Toronto deserved to win, they wanted to win,” head coach Marco Schällibaum told reporters in his postgame press conference. “We made a lot of mistakes. The players will learn from this. I think it was even in the first half, and in the second there were too many mistakes. In the Cup, it’s more than a fight. And Toronto was better.”
While the Reds posed a genuine threat to Evan Bush’s net in the second half, Stefan Frei had a rather quiet night. He faced no shots on target and comfortably picked up a cross or a wayward pass here and there.
Both teams rested key players, but the flow of the game indicated that Montreal maybe missed theirs more than Toronto. Asked if he could have used those players that watched the game form their Montreal home, Schällibaum responded that games like these help players, particularly youngsters, grow.
“I trust my players,” Schällibaum further said. “It wasn‘t so bad. We made some mistakes, and they cost us dearly. Alessandro Nesta or Marco Di Vaio can’t play today and also be fresh on Saturday. It was a good move before the game because, for three of four days, I’d wanted to play like this and they played very well during the week. But today, it was another reality.”
That harsh reality is that Montreal, once again in a bad position in the ACC, will now need at least two goals at Stade Saputo in next Wednesday's second leg. But Schällibaum, like his players, will turn to this weekend’s MLS game for now.
“We’ll play on Saturday, we want to win, and we’ll see down the line,” Schällibaum stated. “I can’t answer now. But we’ll be ready next week [against Toronto].”