MONTREAL - Despite key injuries and tired legs, the Montreal Impact managed to come from behind twice to beat Real Salt Lake 3-2 on Saturday at Saputo Stadium.
The Impact had recently returned from an exhausting road trip to San Jose and New York and head coach Marco Schällibaum explained that he was especially happy with the character the team showed in overturning the result against a strong side and in the face of apparent fatigue.
“It was heroic of us today [to come back in the game]. The schedule has been very difficult and with all the travelling we’ve done even I was tired today, but it’s the players that have to perform not me,” Schällibaum told reporters in French. “They did very well today against a very good team and I take my hat off to them.
“We pushed hard until the end and we did have a bit of luck to score in the last minute, but we weren’t lucky on Wednesday, so things have a way of balancing out."
Matteo Ferrari was the culprit on Theirry Henry’s splendid winning goal on Wednesday against New York and was also to blame against RSL, when he deflected Lovel Palmer’s long-distance strike into his own goal in the seventh minute.
But the Italian defender would eventually make up for his errors with an acrobatic winning goal in the dying minutes of play following a corner kick from Justin Mapp.
For Ferrari, scoring the goal was a bit of a relief given his previous errors.
“For me the last few days have been difficult because Henry’s bicycle kick goal has been running on ESPN all day and it was a goal that I could have dealt with. And then I score the own goal in the first half, so it wasn’t easy,” Ferrari told Goal in Italian.
“But I’m not 10 years old. I'm 33, I have experience. I get through it. We showed a lot of character. And then I score a goal that I probably won’t be able to repeat ever again."
Ferrari added that it was important for the Impact to win the game in order to restore its place near the top of the Eastern Conference standings – the Impact temporarily sit in a three-way tie for first place with New York and Houston.
“We got three points. Three very heavy points and we showed that we want to be up there [in the standings],” Ferrari said. “We played right until the end against a very nice team, which is second in the Western Conference. So were very happy right now."
Before a much needed a 10-day break, the Impact will play the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship final against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday at Saputo Stadium.