VANCOUVER, B.C. – The expansion Montreal Impact didn’t get off to that bad a start in their inaugural match, all things considered. They controlled the ball well from kickoff, looked mostly composed and organized.
Then a gaffe in the fourth minute changed everything. Eric Hassli headed the ball ahead into space for Sébastien Le Toux, and Impact center back Tyson Wahl came upfield to challenge the Frenchman.
WATCH: Marsch, Arnaud frustrated by early goal
Le Toux won the 50-50 ball with ease, charged on Donovan Ricketts’ goal all alone and calmly deposited it into the net for the fastest goal scored in a season opener in MLS history. From then on out, Montreal were left to chase the game in an eventual 2-0 loss.
“I thought I had a chance to stab at it and obviously, I was a second late,” Wahl told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “So I stuck my foot in and [Le Toux] stuck his foot in and he ended up with it. In retrospect, I should’ve been a little more conservative and probably not stepped and just probably pushed him out wide and we would have been fine.”
It was a disappointing start for Montreal, especially after head coach Jesse Marsch stressed to his team that they had to get off on the right foot in hostile territory at BC Place. It was another defensive lapse by Wahl’s center back partner, an otherwise solid Matteo Ferrari, that helped Vancouver gain a 2-0 advantage in the second half as well.
But for Marsch, it was the early error that set the tone.
“The disappointing part, I think, is that it happened so quickly into the game that we don’t even give ourselves a chance for the game to settle in and we’re down 1-0,” Marsch said in the postgame press conference.
“We talked about a good start, we knew that it was important to take the crowd out of the match and actually, if you look at the first three minutes, there are some good moments and we’re on top of them, and it’s their first play downfield and it’s a goal.”