Frank Klopas is left to ponder many things after this one.
With Thursday's 3-1 loss at Real Salt Lake – their league-worst 11th of the season – in the books, the Montreal Impact (3-11-5) rest on four straight defeats. They’ve now played 14 road games without a win thanks to Olmes Garcia’s 70th-minute winner.
But five minutes earlier, the incident occurred that occupied Klopas’ thoughts right after the game: referee Drew Fischer sending Issey Nakajima-Farran off for a dangerous studs-up slide on Chris Schuler.
“It was good up to that call, to the red card that changed everything on Issey,” Klopas told reporters postgame. “I don’t know what else can go wrong with us. It seems everything goes wrong with us. We have a chance to go on a breakaway, both players go down, both players have studs up and we get the red card. That changed everything.”
At least, there was more attacking content in this one. The Impact targeted the space vacated by left back Chris Wingert numerous times, and Krzysztof Krol’s diagonals from Montreal’s own left back position were only one symptom. Two of these balls reached their target. One led to Hassoun Camara’s equalizer – and Calum Mallace’s first assist in MLS.
“Other than that, I felt the game we had under control,” Klopas said. “We had chances better in the first half. We gave up a fast goal, obviously. We came back, we scored a nice goal. We had some other very good opportunities. We were managing the game and I thought we could have gotten a result out of it. But the red card changed everything.”
Other things endure, however. A game in hand has just evaporated for Montreal, who remain nine points adrift of the red playoffs line; they'll be facing a double-digit deficit after the New England Revolution and Columbus Crew play each other on Saturday.
Managing this double-game week was tricky already – Klopas switched from 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1 with that in mind. It’s gotten trickier ahead of this Sunday’s game against the Portland Timbers at Stade Saputo.
“We had opportunities to push the game, but the way it ended, we wanted to make sure that we could save at least one of the forwards, Jack [McInerney] and Marco [Di Vaio], reinforce the midfield – obviously some guys we have to try to rest, and some guys we put in there –, but like I said, everything changed with that call,” Klopas said.