- Friday, 27 January 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
The Montreal Impact of Gambia international Sanna Nyassi ame away with an encouraging result against the strongest opponent it faced during the club’s preseason training camp in Mexico.
Sanna’s Impact and Club Social y Deportivo Atlas de Guadalajara, one of the premier teams in the Mexican first division, fought to a 1-1 draw Thursday. Montreal took a 1-0 lead on Sanna Nyassi’s goal early in the 57th minute after being set up by forward Eduardo Sebrango.
Atlas got the equalizer against goalkeeper Evan Bush in the 59th, but Bush, who replaced starter Donovan Ricketts at half time, came up with big stops in the 72nd and 75th, the latter on a breakaway.
“We came to Mexico to play good games and Atlas gave us a really good opposition. We were well tested today,” Impact head coach Jesse Marsch said. “They put us under pressure and we had to react as a unit. “I think that today’s game made us a better team,” Marsch continued.
“We are pleased with a lot of elements, but one trip to Mexico won’t make us a good team. It will take time and we will have to commit to this project for an entire year.”
Defender Hassoun Camara said Atlas was a significant test for the club because of its technical ability and style of play. “That was a good team in front of us as demonstrated by their ability to hold onto the ball,” Camara said. “We were ahead and unfortunately, we conceded a goal, but it’s not the end of the world at this stage of our preseason.”
Atlas, one of three teams based in Guadalajara and in the Mexican first division, was led by former Italian Serie A defender-of-the-year Argentine Leandro Cufré and defender Rafael Marquez, currently on the roster of the MLS’ New York Red Bulls as a designated player. The game was the last of four in Mexico, and the Impact will spend two more days training in Mexico before returning to Montreal Wednesday to continue preparations for its inaugural season in Major League Soccer.
It was also the team’s third game in as many days and came less than 24 hours after the Impact crushed Guadalajara’s Iteso University 7-0. Forwards Miguel Montano and Aaron Schoenfeld each scored twice, while Juan Jose Pena, Reda Agourram and Mircea Ilcu added a goal apiece. Bush and Greg Sutton shared the shutout.
With Thursday’s draw, the Impact went unbeaten with a 2-0-2 record, including a 1-0 win over Estudiantes Tecos Tuesday and a goalless draw with C.D. Chivas Sunday. The team’s home opener is March 17 against the Chicago Fire. The game will come on the 30th anniversary of one that took place between the Montreal Manic of the original North American Soccer League and the Chicago Sting that attracted a record 58,542 spectators to the stadium.
Montreal’s remaining four games at Olympic Stadium include: Toronto FC on April 7; Mamadou “Futty” Danso’s Portland Timbers on April 28; MLS defending champion L.A. Galaxy on May 12 and the New York Red Bulls on May 19.