The Montreal Impact got three points and a first-ever MLS clean sheet in a 2-0 win at home against the Portland Timbers.
MONTREAL - The Montreal Impact's unbeaten streak at home continued on Saturday as they overcame Western Conference cellar dwellers Portland by a score of 2-0 at the Olympic Stadium.
“We felt all along that the team is coming together in a good way,” said Montreal head coach Jesse Marsch in the post game press conference. “We know we can still get better but I think today, and this is no disrespect to Portland they do have a good team despite their slow start, but I think today was a good performance [from the Impact] and a dominant performance from start to finish.”
The Impact have had a difficult time this season at defending leads, and came into the Portland game having the worst defensive record in MLS with 15 goals against in eight games. But after Italian striker Bernardo Corradi opened the scoring through a controversial penalty in the 76th minute, the Impact were able to both hold on to their advantage and then also add to it through an 84th minute insurance goal from substitute Sinisa Ubiparipovic.
“That lesson of how to now deal with a lead, has been delivered and received, in a good way,” Marsch explained. “I think that now when we've got the lead, it’s like we’ve been here before, we know how to handle this, we killed the game at different moments, we kept the ball at different moments and then we still had opportunities to increase the lead, which we ended up doing.”
In the practices leading up to the game, Marsch stressed that the Timbers’ physical strengths and ability on set plays was an area to be wary about, but explained after the game that the Impact coped well in that regard.
“Knowing that we were going to have some aerial duels on set pieces, and if you look at how many plays Shavar Thomas and Matteo Ferrari came out first on, they got very high marks on that end,” Marsch said. “They battled, positioned themselves well, and then made it really hard on [Portland striker Kris] Boyd.”
“We got a shutout, that’s good,” said Thomas. “Our first objective was to get the three points and the shutout also comes, and we’ll take it. We knew what we can do, and what they can do, so it was about withstanding their pressure and we did that and then the guys up front did the job.”
The Impact’s third positive result at home also came with further complaints from the away side about the quality of the turf field in place at the Big O, but Marsch concluded that the less than ideal field conditions is something visiting clubs will just have to live with.
“We’re going to keep talking about how bad the turf is to everyone who comes into town,” Marsch said with smile.