MONTREAL – An all-around tough week for Matteo Ferrari came to a remarkable ending in Montreal’s 3-2 win over real Salt Lake on Saturday.
A week ago in San Jose, Ferrari came back from a three-week break due to a left calf injury, but fell victim to San Jose’s traditional late-game magic in a 2-2 draw. Then Thierry Henry was his man to mark when the Frenchman scored his spectacular bicycle kick goal in a 2-1 Impact loss on Wednesday.
And in the 6th minute of Saturday's game, he put Real Salt Lake on the board with an unfortunate own goal.
“But I had a good answer at the end,” a beaming Ferrari chuckled as he faced reporters after the game.
Not only did the late goal help Ferrari’s team reclaim what the New York game “took away from us,” as forward Marco Di Vaio put it, it also lifted a big weight that Ferrari carried from the moment Lovel Palmer’s shot bounced off him in the early going to put RSL up 1-0.
“I was sad for the team, of course,” Ferrari said. “I was unlucky also. The worst way to start this game was with an own goal. But like I said before, we had good character to come back twice and we have these three points which, for us, are very important.”
That character was a theme of Marco Schällibaum’s postgame press conference, too. Fatigue is starting to get to his players after the sixth game in 18 days on Saturday, but they pulled through, Schällibaum pointed out, thanks to sheer willpower.
“Once again, they gave everything,” he said. “When we score at the very end, there’s a bit of luck involved, but we showed a lot of will. That’s why I love this team: not only do they play good football, but they’ve learned to show character, which is very important.”
For Di Vaio, one needs to look no further than Ferrari for a proof of that strong-mindedness.
“It’s not easy for a defender to score, especially at the end of the game, with fatigue setting in,” Di Vaio said. “But he got up into the box and helped us win.”
Added midfielder Patrice Bernier: “It was a perfect reflection of the game. We started off with an unfortunate goal, but he came back and scored the winner. It shows how everyone has a hand in the win. One guy doesn’t score all the goals. It’s everyone.”