Montreal kicked off its Champions League campaign with a narrow 1-0 win over San Jose and designated player Hernan Bernardello put in a man-of-the-match performance on his debutMONTREAL - The Montreal Impact kicked off their Champions League campaign Wednesday night with a hard fought 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes at Saputo Stadium.
Coming off a disappointing 3-1 road loss to DC United in MLS league play on Saturday, the Impact were buoyed by the presence of designated player Hernan Bernardello who made his first ever start for the blue and white since joining the club two weeks ago.
The Argentine midfielder, who spent the majority of the game grittily defending the back four, explained through an interpreter after the game that he was satisfied with his first outing.
“The most important thing is that we won, but we showed some good chemistry right from the get go,” Bernardello said. “The only surprise was that I thought that it would be a little more physical than it was, but I was happy with how it went. I gave it my best shot and tried to keep my head up and find my teammates further forward.”
The Argentine midfielder made an instant Impact in the game as his free kick in the 16th minute was headed into the top corner by a leaping Hassoun Camara.
The Impact have struggled to generate offense from set pieces and Bernier explained that scoring in that manner against San Jose will offer the team the confidence that it can continue to produce on this front.
“It was a great free kick from Bernardello and then Hassoun is really good on those set pieces. He has great timing,” Bernier explained. “We haven’t scored that many on free kicks. It was the first where we scored directly from a header instead of on a second ball. It was good for us to get a goal like that.”
Coach Marco Schällibaum was ecstatic about the way Bernardello, having only recently joined the team, was able to put in such a fine performance and with the fact that he now has another weapon in his arsenal that he can count on.
“You saw tonight that he’s a very good player.” Schällibaum said. “He’s intelligent; he’s really good at changing the rhythm of the play. For a first time, he had a great game.”
“I’m very happy to have a player like him.”