MONTREAL – Outcompeted.
Such was the unanimous verdict in the Montreal Impact’s locker room after Toronto FC’s visit to Stade Saputo on Wednesday, a 3-0 loss against their archrivals on Designated Player Marco Di Vaio's big night.
While Di Vaio tried to see the positives after his MLS debut – “I think we played a good first half and created chances but couldn’t score,” the Italian told reporters – head coach Jesse Marsch hadn't sounded this disappointed since the Impact’s collapse in a 5-2 drubbing by the New York Red Bulls on March 31.
HIGHLIGHTS: MTL vs TOR
“I want to congratulate Toronto, because 100 percent, they deserved to win that game,” Marsch said after the game. “They came in here, they wanted it more, they had more heart, they put more into it, they fought harder.”
Torsten Frings, in particular, caused several problems for Montreal. First, he frustrated Felipe throughout the first half, which Marsch felt made the Brazilian push too high up the field for a touch of the ball.
Having made adjustments regarding Felipe’s positioning at the half, the Montreal boss could only sigh when Frings sent a powerful free kick crashing into Donovan Ricketts' net. Marsch did admit that Ricketts could have made the save on the play, but he refused to lay the blame solely on his goalkeeper.
“We’ve got to keep pushing with each guy. It's not just one guy, it's the whole team,” Marsch insisted.
The three goals scored by the Reds mean that Montreal now have conceded six in three games at Stade Saputo this season. The absence of Nelson Rivas and Matteo Ferrari is certainly a thorn in the Impact’s side at this point, but Marsch was quick to underline that Shavar Thomas and Hassoun Camara “have been good for us all year.”
Captain Davy Arnaud, who turned into a right midfielder-cum-wingback after Zarek Valentin made way for Eduardo Sebrango, certainly thought the team’s performance did not fit with Marsch’s leitmotiv since the beginning of the season.
“From day one, Jesse has said that he wants us to be tough to play against,” Arnaud said. “We've said it many times and he wants us to be good defensively. A team that’s tough to play against doesn’t give up as many goals as we’re giving up.”