Frank Klopas thought Montreal started well, “other than the call.”
That call, of course, was referee Chris Penso’s decision to punish an apparent tug on Edson Buddle’s jersey by Sanna Nyassi with a penalty kick, allowing Dillon Powers to score the Colorado Rapids' first goal just five minutes into Montreal’s 4-1 loss in Commerce City, Colo. on Saturday night.
Add to that the assistant’s puzzling decision to raise his flag for offsides and deny Issey Nakajima-Farran his first goal with Montreal in the 65th minute, and it made for an upset Klopas.
The first-year Impact head coach's tone suggested that he was striving not to complain about the refereeing, but couldn’t help it.
“When the referees are protagonists in the game, it’s never good,” Klopas told reporters after the game. “It’s a shame, because I felt he did a very, very poor job. It’s nothing to take away from Colorado and them scoring. For me, he had a very bad game.
“But I felt that we came out, we had a good start. We possessed the ball, we had some good chances. You go into it, and then, right away, it’s a PK call, he plays advantage and he goes back, it’s either one or the other. So anyway, it is what it is.”
Sadly for Klopas, though, after a more positive outing last Saturday at D.C. United, this still ended up as another drubbing, the Impact’s third three-goal loss in their last five league games. They now concede two goals per game on average.
Montreal had most of the ball. Colorado didn’t care. They carved the visitors open with quick, direct play. Deshorn Brown was a constant threat on the left, one that nearly joined Kamani Hill, Shane O’Neill and Powers on the scoresheet.
“When we lost [the ball], it was all in transition,” Klopas said. “They played very direct, and now it’s going to be a footrace. They had some fast guys, and then, [it’s about] our ability not to dive in and always keep numbers up at the back, keep our shape and discipline.”
The transition to this Wednesday’s Amway Canadian Championship final first leg at Toronto FC will need to be quick as well. Frank Klopas possibly had one eye on the fixture 71 minutes in on Saturday as he withdrew Justin Mapp, once again a spark for Montreal, particularly in the early goings.
“We have to regroup fast,” Klopas said. “We have the Canadian final coming up, and I know the guys left everything on the field. We’ve just got to move on and stay positive. It’s a chance for us to win a championship.”