Montreal Impact rue dearth of chances, but "you can’t play better defensively than this”

MONTREAL – The 4-0 debacle in New York last Saturday left the Montreal Impact wanting to regroup, stop leaking goals and get back in control again.

So although they only picked up a point in drawing 0-0 against FC Dallas on Saturday night at Stade Saputo, they were satisfied with the effort.

“The team showed a lot of spirit,” head coach Marco Schällibaum said in his postgame press conference. “The will to win was extremely high today. We had many chances, though maybe not enough that could have won the game. . . .  Losing a game hurts when you control it the way we did, but the performance was very strong.”

With Marco Di Vaio away in Italy for family reasons, Schällibaum withdrew a forward from his formation and settled on a three-man midfield. It appears that the decision yielded the desired effects. Patrice Bernier and Davy Arnaud, in particular, saw a lot of the ball as they dominated the midfield along with Felipe and pinned Dallas back for most of the encounter.

The final stats were overwhelmingly in Montreal's favor, including a 15-6 advantage in shots and a 62% to 38% advantage in possession. 

“It was like a power play in hockey,” Schällibaum said. “They were 11 players, like us, but they didn’t get out [of their area]. We were always there on second balls, always hogging the ball. We were like lions. There was only one ball, but they all wanted to eat it tonight. And we believed until the end.”

Schällibaum was particularly praiseful of wide players Sanna Nyassi and Justin Mapp. The amount of ground covered by both players satisfied the Swiss coach, who remarked that Mapp and Nyassi “will be tired tonight.”

“It was a matter of centimeters, of luck in the first half,” Schällibaum continued. “A point is a point, it’s not three, but we looked different today. We had this fighting spirit that I’d asked before the game.”

Denying Dallas space and chances was another Schällibaum demand that was listened to. Set plays aside, Je-Vaughn Watson heading the ball into Troy Perkins’ hands was the only serious threat inside the box.

“We worked all week, and again yesterday, and it was perfect,” the Swiss coach said. “Because you can’t play better defensively than this.”

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