Montreal Impact vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers

Montrealers can be fickle sports fans.  The Montreal Expos were always a decent baseball team and yet they had trouble attracting fans, which led to their downfall.  Despite the fact that the Montreal Canadiens made it to the semi finals last year all this year the fans bitched and complained about how crappy they were.  Never happy is how you can sum up a description of Montreal sports fans.  Somehow though despite the fact that the Montreal Impact is having an awful season with a 2-3-6 record in 11 games and were on a two game losing streak, 13,304 fans (sellout) packed the stands at Saputo Stadium.  There seems to be some loyal soccer fans here in Montreal, but it won’t last forever unless the Impact turn their season around.

Montreal was facing off against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in their 2nd  game out of four between the two sides in the regular season.  Fort Lauderdale is in the midst of a five game undefeated streak.  They are currently in 5th place in the NASL.  The first meeting between between the two was a 0-0 tie in Florida.

The good news is that the Impact did not lose the game.  The bad news was that they did not win either.  The good news was that they did not give up a goal, but the bad news was that they did not manage to score even one goal.  It was and up-and-down game for both squads with each playing well for portions.  As most teams in the midst of a bad season the confidence level on the Impact side is not the greatest.  They seemed tight and hesitant at points.  At times they tried to force the issue and as a result made poor decisions.  Balls were given up cheaply instead of being patient.

Montreal has had to deal with some injuries this season.  Captain and central defender Nevio Pizzolitto has been out all season with a hip injury as has defender Richard Pelletier (thigh), midfielder Luke Kreamalmeyer (foot) has been out for an extended period, and goaltender Bill Gaudette (ankle) and striker Ali Gerba (knee) have now joined the list.

Gaudette will be out for weeks, so back up Evan Bush will be the starting goaltender for a spell.  This was only his second start of the season and he earned a shutout.  Making seven saves over the course of the game, his best was a point blank one off midfielder Yoximar Granado.  Granado drilled his shot from the corner of the 18 yard box 15 minutes into the game.  Then he came up big 11 minutes later when he stopped striker Abe Thompson, who came in on him alone on a breakaway.  They say to be good you have to be lucky and Bush and Montreal were the beneficiaries of some luck and bad vision on behalf of the referees, when just after play began in the 2nd half a header by the Strikers just crossed the goal line.  Leonardo Di Lorenzo cleared it quickly and the fact that it had crossed the line was missed by the officials.  Phew! This was Bush’s first career shutout.

To be fair, Fort Lauderdale keeper Matt Glaeser also had a strong game making several tough saves.  The Impact had 13 shots on net and a couple were high quality strikes.  Striker Mignane Diouf was sent along the right side courtesy of a smart pass from midfielder Di Lorenzo, who was played his 10,000 minute with the team during this match, and his shot was partially blocked by Glaeser, rolled achingly in front of the line and then was cleared by defender Martyn Lancaster.  In the 60th substitute striker Reda Agourram had a good chance off a header that Glaeser stopped on the goal line.  A sparkling chance!  Just before the end of the game at the 89th minute defender Hicham Aaboubou, unmarked at the far post, headed a ball just over the crossbar.

The game was a little bit of chippy one with Montreal getting three yellow cards (all in the 1st half) and Fort Lauderdale with two.  Several crunching tackles were made by both sides.

Montreal had several good scoring chances and just did not cash in on them.  The first 50 minutes of the game belonged to the home side.  The effort was there, but it did not translate into goals.  They have to find a way to score goals and win home games.  Seven of their next ten games are at home, so hopefully that will get them out of their funk and back on winning route.

The Impact’s next game in in Edmonton on Sunday, June 26.

Game Stats:
-Officials:  Referee:  Dave Barrie
Linesmen:  Pierre Cantave and Marie-Josée Charbonneau
-Shots on Goal:  Montreal:  13
Fort Lauderdale:  9
-Stops:  Montreal:  7
Fort Lauderdale:  5
-Corners:  Montreal:  5
Fort Lauderdale:  4
-Attendance:  13,304
-Final Score:  Montreal:  0
Fort Lauderdale:  0

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