MONTREAL – At least there was improvement in defense.
Seven goals conceded in its previous two games left the Montreal Impact with a defensive problem which they almost solved against Chivas USA in Sunday night's 1-1 draw at Stade Saputo.
But for one lapse, the Impact could have recorded a fourth home shutout this season against a Goats team that registered only two shots in the penalty area, both coming on the goal sequence by Eric Avila.
Nonetheless, Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum was satisfied with the balance his players managed to strike between defense and attack.
“In general, we were solid at the back apart from that one costly mistake,” Schällibaum said in his post-game press conference. “I don’t think they got another chance. That’s not bad. And with all due respect, against teams like those, if you don’t make the difference early on, the game’s going to get tougher. With the chances we created, we could have won the game.”
FULL BOX SCORE AND MATCH STATISTICS
Montreal did put Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy under pressure, especially in the second half. After Avila’s 55th-minute tally, the Impact kept possession 67 percent of the time and drew five saves from the netminder. But it's worth noting that centerbacks Matteo Ferrari and Alessandro Nesta accounted for nearly a third of Montreal’s total passes during the 90 minutes.
The Impact's Hassoun Camara credited Chivas with forcing Montreal into too much of a slow tempo during a first half when Schällibaum was hoping to see his team pull away.
Veteran midfielder Patrice Bernier was still glad to have salvaged a point for his team from the penalty spot, but he felt that three would have been a more just reward.
“Considering the conditions, the humidity and the fact that we were a bit tired, it’s nice to come back and get that point," Bernier said. "These little points will count at the end. But we created enough chances to say that we could have probably been leading and maybe had a two-goal lead at one point.”
OPTA CHALKBOARD: Montreal not short of scoring chances vs. Chivas USA
Still, Montreal's results in the past three games leave them with a bitter taste in their mouths.
“We have to admit that this is a tough spell for us, with only two points out of a possible nine,” Camara said. “There’s a lot of physical fatigue, a little mental fatigue, but it’s a long season and we had to expect that. We have to be strong and stay the course.”
Olivier Tremblay covers the Montreal Impact for MLSsoccer.com.