The Montreal Impact were handed a seventh-straight league defeat on Saturday night, falling 2 -1 on the road despite out-shooting and out-possessing Eastern Conference rival Philadelphia Union.
Sebastien Le Toux, the home side’s French forward, completed his brace by taking advantage of two defensive miscues, one in the first half and one in the second.
The Impact controlled an incredible 68 per cent of the possession and outshot their hosts 11 to eight, but could not break through until substitute Maxim Tissot’s 79th minute consolation goal.
“I look at the game, and I wonder how we lost that game,” manager Frank Klopas told reporters after the match. “That’s what’s going through my mind. Maybe I saw a different game, but then I look at everything on the stat sheets, other than two mistakes that we made again, and it’s just incredible, you know? Final third, I think there were moments where we could have been better. Our quality in the final pass was a little off. But we controlled the game, we had possession of the game, and we had opportunities.
“Two mental mistakes again, it’s just mind-boggling to me.”
Klopas made five changes to the side that beat Salvadoran side CD FAS on Wednesday night in the CONCACAF Champion’s League. Marco Di Vaio was left out of the 18 entirely, with Jack McInerney starting as the lone striker against his former team. Troy Perkins, Patrice Bernier, Eric Miller, and Wandrille Lefevre were all added to Montreal’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
Coming into the match, the club had conceded the second most goals in Major League Soccer.
It took just 12 minutes for Philadelphia to take advantage of that, breaking the deadlock with an easy goal that resulted from an innocuous-looking goal kick.
The play started with an over-hit Montreal corner kick, which could only be pushed over the net by Matteo Ferrari. Moving quickly, goalkeeper Zac MacMath booted a deep pass for Le Toux, with both Bernier and Krzysztof Krol in position to defend. The ball bounced and Bernier flapped at a clearance, before Krol headed the ball beyond an onrushing Troy Perkins. Le Toux was able to collect in space and shoot on an empty net.
It was a miscommunication between the three players.
“I think the goalkeeper was calling out, he probably thought the goal was coming to the side and (Krol) hit the ball to the side,” Bernier explained. “It’s just silly little mistakes that we do. At that time, they hadn’t really created anything, and then they go one-nil up 12 minutes into the game.”
“It’s hard for me (to tell), because I don’t hear,” Klopas added. “But if you’re first to the ball, clear that ball.”
It was a 1-0 game at the half, but Montreal held the ball and had better passages of play after conceding the goal.
The McInerney return was a top storyline for this game, but it was former Impact forward Andrew Wenger, the other part of the April trade, who arguably had the better performance.
Subbed in around the 60 minute mark, Wenger immediately setup Philadelphia’s second goal. Bursting forward from his wide left position, he sparked a quick counter attack, playing Le Toux into space on the right hand side. The forward completed his brace with a low, left footed shot that caught Perkins guessing to his right, shielded by a pair of Impact defenders.
There was a Montreal chance on the other end, with substitute Anthony Jackson-Hamel coming close in the 70th minute. Standing over a corner kick, Krol hit a low drive that the 21-year-old was able to back-heel flick, but the effort came off the far post and into the arms of MacMath.
Tissot’s goal was the product of added pressure in the 79th minute of play. Winning a free kick on the far right side, Andres Romero’s service found the unmarked sub at the far post, and Tissot was able to beat MacMath with a one-touch redirection that was hit low and into the corner.
Montreal was then denied a penalty shot in the 90th minute, when Gorka Larrea’s turn-around cross appeared to have struck Ray Gaddis in the hand. Referee Fotis Bazakos did not point to the spot.
“I think the second half, we came out (well),” Bernier said. “It was probably one of our better second halves, too. Usually we come out flat, but we pushed, and we were unlucky at certain points to not find that final pass or final touch to tie it up. At the end of the day, the last seven games have been the same story.”
The 10th place Impact fall to a record of 3-14-5 with the loss. The team returns to Stade Saputo next weekend for a matchup against the 9th place Chicago Fire.