MONTREAL – The stats on the sheet in Frank Klopas’ hand made him raise his eyebrows.
The Montreal Impact had the better of possession. Outshot the opposition 21-13. Put 12 of those on target to the opposition's 4. He could have mentioned more categories to the reporters gathered in the Olympic Stadium’s Salle Polyvalente.
“When you look at the stats, based on the game, you can shake your head and say, ‘How didn’t we walk away with three points?’” Klopas said.
In the category that makes the difference – goals, of course – both the Impact and the New York Red Bulls scored two on Saturday, resulting in a draw the Impact believed was avoidable.
“We talked about certain things the whole week as far as how to attack in transition, to play the ball quick to our forwards and find the gaps in between, and once they’re set, to be good with the ball,” Klopas told reporters. “I felt that when we forced it, we got hurt again.”
Montreal, it must be said, executed the offensive part of Klopas’ plan brilliantly in the first 30 minutes. They exploited absurd amounts of space on both sides of New York’s defensive line, forcing the excellent Luis Robles into six saves.
Robles finished the game with nine stops, tied with Nick Rimando as the most by any MLS goalkeeper in a single game this season.
“We have the quality players to score goals,” Klopas said. “Maybe they didn’t go in today, but they’re going to go in.”
Two did, and the occupants of the Montreal locker room thought it should have been enough. But the sudden four-minute rally produced by Jonny Steele and Péguy Luyindula “stunned” the Impact, defender Hassoun Camara admitted.
“We played 30 excellent minutes, and then a goal comes out of nowhere and it stuns us, as does the second,” Camara said, in French. “It's a team thing. There’s some feebleness, I want to say, because when you don’t win, you’re kind of afraid of making the mistake or of being the one [to blame], and thinking like that makes [mistakes] happen. We’re all in this together. Today, someone’s making a mistake, tomorrow it may be someone else. That’s what a team is: everyone working together to be as impermeable as possible and finding a solution to win.”
It all goes back to the one stat that hurt Montreal on Saturday.
“We got to find a way to not concede goals,” Klopas said. “Because when you score two goals in a game, I feel we’ve got to walk away with the result.”