MONTREAL – Although the Montreal Impact and New York Red Bulls both took leads on Saturday afternoon, neither team could hold on for its first win of the season. Instead, Montreal and New York settled for a 2-2 draw at Olympic Stadium. The tie leaves both New York (0-1-4) and Montreal (0-3-2) in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference standings.
Montreal’s start had all the makings of a memorable afternoon. Andrés Romero struck in just the fifth minute on a play that began when former Red Bull defender Heath Pearce found Felipe in a pocket of space in midfield. The Brazilian slipped the ball behind the New York back line for Romero, who curled it in off the far post despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Luis Robles.
From there, the Impact repeatedly took advantage of boulevards of space between the New York lines. Marco Di Vaio had three fine chances, Felipe had another and Justin Mapp had yet another. But Robles stopped them all, making six stops in the first 25 minutes.
The play of Robles gave New York a lifeline, which they duly exploited in the 31st minute when a Kosuke Kimura pass isolated the in-form Lloyd Sam one-on-one against former teammate Pearce. Sam crossed over an out-of-position Troy Perkins for an onrushing Jonny Steele, who deftly volleyed the ball into an empty net. The play produced Sam's third assist in five games this season, and he has set up half of New York's six goals.
New York took the lead three minutes later, as Di Vaio gave the ball away in midfield to Steele, who swiftly put Péguy Luyindula through on goal. The Frenchman made no mistake, powering his shot past Perkins to suddenly make it 2-1.
The Red Bulls' momentum continued early in the second half when Matteo Ferrari brought Bradley Wright-Phillips down in the penalty area, but Luyindula rifled the penalty kick squarely off the right post, and Eric Alexander skied the rebound.
Robles kept the saves coming in the second half, denying Mapp twice and Di Vaio again, but he was powerless on the game-tying goal in the 59th minute. Felipe hit a backspin pass to the right corner and continued into the box, where the 5-foot-8 Brazilian timed his run perfectly to nod home a Mapp cross.
Both teams' momentum seemed to run out from there, although both teams’ front men enjoyed quality chances in the remaining half hour. New York and Montreal will continue their quests for points next week, as the Impact are playing at Olympic Stadium for the last time this season on Saturday against the Chicago Fire, while the Red Bulls play at D.C. United on the same day.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Luis Robles||Made six saves in the first 25 minutes alone and nine on the day, a new career high, to keep New York in it.|
|2||Felipe||Key in the buildup to both Montreal goals, eventually scoring the second, and made decisive passes all game.|
|3||Jonny Steele||After a slow start, took full advantage of two chances, scoring and assisting to help New York tie the game.|