MONTREAL – After conceding 10 goals in their previous four games, the Montreal Impact recovered some self-assurance through youth on Tuesday.
The average age of the Impact back four in their 2-0 CONCACAF Champions League win over CD Heredia was 23.5 years. Three Montreal Impact Academy products – Maxim Tissot, Wandrille Lefèvre and Karl W. Ouimette – flanked the only veteran, 29-year-old Hassoun Camara.
Not only did they hold strong when Heredia, looking for an equalizer to clinch Group 5 with a game to spare, broke forward, but they were also brave with their positioning, pinning Heredia back and supporting the Montreal attack as needed.
It was a novice backline for Montreal, but it didn’t show.
“Three of us – Karl, Max and myself – are used to playing together,” Lefèvre told reporters on Tuesday night. “We approached this game thinking we had to help one another, because we knew it was an important game for our careers. It’s not that we were going all-in on this one, but it was important to set the record straight regarding what happened.”
The Impact's 1-0 loss to Heredia in Guatemala, in which both Tissot and Lefèvre started, was a chip on their shoulders. On a personal level, stringing two disappointing performances together wasn’t happening, Lefèvre said.
They would show the technical staff that they had not erred in calling upon them back on Aug. 21.
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While assistant coach Mauro Biello enjoyed the young defenders’ uplifting response, he wouldn’t be drawn into their possibilities at first-team berths in MLS games. Lefèvre himself admitted that this last stretch was probably an opportunity for the regulars to fortify their in-game reflexes. But Biello granted that they were pushing their seniors quite hard indeed.
“It’s not easy for a young player to be put in a situation where things don’t go as planned,” assistant coach Mauro Biello said on Wednesday, referring to the loss in Guatemala. “Reacting like they did yesterday, in such a game, is good. It’s part of their learning process. They grow, and they gain that experience.”