Different circumstances, same spirit.
Two weeks ago at Stade Saputo, the Montreal Impact led against FAS in the CONCACAF Champions League when Hassoun Camara committed a foul that earned him an early exit in the 72nd minute. A solid defensive showing the rest of the way was good for enough for a 1-0 win.
On Wednesday night in San Salvador, Montreal led against FAS in the CONCACAF Champions League when Felipe committed a foul that earned him an early exit in the 73rd minute.
But keeping this 3-2 win was a different ask. Assistant coach Mauro Biello, taking over from the suspended Frank Klopas, had already withdrawn right back Karl W. Ouimette for midfielder Issey Nakajima-Farran and dropped Calum Mallace to right back when Felipe was ejected. Biello had to rework his plans, introducing another defender.
“But we showed a lot of character, a lot of fight,” Biello told reporters. “We had to make some changes, and the guys that came in played really well, held their own. We had to switch up the positions a little bit, but the guys reacted well. We’d talked about staying focused throughout the game, whatever happens. That’s what they did tonight.”
Perhaps this Impact team wouldn’t have stayed so focused on another day. Up 2-0 after eight minutes, Montreal saw FAS claw their way back in with a set play and a penalty kick.
“Earlier this season, in this game, once we got back to 2-2, we probably wouldn’t have gotten that last goal,” goalkeeper Evan Bush said. “We’ve shown some progress this season, the way we’ve become, and coming back to win that game after letting them back in was a big step for us.”
It was another penalty decision that allowed Montreal to score their third, but they won’t mind. The Impact finally clinched their first away win of the season in all competitions, one that now gives New York Red Bulls and FAS a six-point deficit to make up in Group 3.
Montreal are also building some momentum, as they’re now on their first winning streak of the year.
In the league, it may thrust them to spoiler status. But in CCL, it could be gold.
“We know we’ve grabbed six points against [FAS] who are, for me, the easiest team in the group,” striker Marco Di Vaio said. “Now, we’ve got six points and, the next time we play New York, we’ll be more confident. We’re happy because we played a good game, especially the first half.”