Drogba debuts but Impact fall to Union

The former Chelsea forward came on as a substitute to an appreciative crowd but was unable to send the Impact fans home happy.

Montreal Impact fans got to see their new man, Didier Drogba, in action for the first time Saturday night. Unfortunately, they also witnessed another frustrating loss at hands of an Eastern Conference foe.

Two weeks after falling to D.C. United after allowing just one shot, the Impact were at it again Saturday. This time, Sebastian Le Toux’s 78th minute goal was the difference in the Union’s 1-0 victory at Saputo Stadium in Montreal. The loss leaves the Impact in the last playoff spot in the East, but could fall out of it should New York City FC get a result Sunday in Los Angeles.

The big story, however, was Drogba, who entered the game for Dilly Duka in the 59th minute to a loud ovation.

“I think it was a special moment for him and the club,” Impact manager Frank Klopas said in his postgame comments. “It was special and good for the fans to get to see a player like this, wearing the Impact colors.

Despite getting two shots off and drawing a pair of fouls, the big forward did not have the influence the Impact would have hoped in his first game since joining Montreal from Chelsea on a free transfer earlier in the summer.

Still, Drogba wasn’t signed for just one game and Klopas expected some rustiness since the past few weeks have been essentially a preseason for the forward. With that in mind, the manager believes he can contribute, and playing time is necessary, even if it’s not immediately for a full game. So expect to see Drogba at some point when Montreal plays the second leg of the Canadian Championship Final on Wednesday against the Whitecaps.

“He’s been training really hard,” Klopas said. “But know the first two weeks are like a preseason. He’s ready and now it’s about playing the games and getting the rhythm. So he’s going to be available to play, and he will play, but for how long? It’s not going to be 90 minutes.”