MONTREAL – Seventy-five minutes into their game against FC Dallas, the Montreal Impact were leading 1-0.
Fifteen minutes later, they were left stunned, coming up on the wrong end of a two-goal Dallas comeback and wondering where it all went wrong.
The Impact were unable to manage their lead in Texas, losing 2-1 on late goals from Blas Pérez and Brek Shea. In the aftermath, head coach Jesse Marsch came under fire in certain circles for his use of substitutions.
While he did offer his mea culpa, the Montreal boss reminded his players that the burden should not fall solely on his shoulders.
“If I look back at it, I thought that maybe I should have left Bernardo [Corradi] on for a little bit longer,” Marsch told reporters after practice on Monday. “Maybe I could have done one at a time instead and not both. At first, it actually helped, because we had a little stretch where we had some good moments with the ball, but in the end, when it started getting crazy, I think that we were not as organized as I would have liked.
“I told the team that I was disappointed with the way I handled the subs – I looked at that first – but that, as a group, we still have to understand that on the field, there were certain things that really needed to be taken care of, that didn’t.”
The team seemed to have listened, as no player made excuses about Saturday’s heartbreaking loss. Matteo Ferrari, who did not look his best in the lead-up to Shea’s winning strike, admitted that everybody had made little mistakes and suggested the defense should have been much less forgiving.
Team captain Davy Arnaud, for his part, admitted the obvious: the Impact simply did not do well to hold their one-goal advantage.
“[Managing a lead] is obviously an essential part of the game and time of the game, when you’re on the road, the crowd’s behind them and they’ve got a little bit of momentum,” Arnaud offered. “We need to be a little more mature in the way we handle that situation. We were a bit naïve.”
Another loss in the Impact family
Goal scorer Corradi played in spite of the passing of his friend Piermario Morosini earlier that day, but the Italian was not the only player mourning a loved one. Right back Zarek Valentin, who raised some eyebrows among the Impact faithful as he shared a laugh with Brek Shea after the final whistle, lost his grandfather last Tuesday and was determined to win for him.
“If there was one game I wanted to win more in my life, more than anything, it was this past game,” Valentin said. “I put forth all the effort I have. I actually teared up during the national anthem because I was so into the game. My reaction with Brek was a little bit misplaced, with the timing of everything, but I want the fans and everyone to know that my heart and soul was into that game. I was crushed.”