- Tuesday, 20 March 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
Sanna Nyassi’s Montreal Impact’s first ever home opener ended in a 1-1 draw on Saturday against the Chicago Fire at Olympic Stadium, in front of a record crowd of 58,912.
Impact captain Davy Arnaud (56th) scored the club’s first ever goal in MLS, while forward Dominic Oduro (71st) replied for the Fire.
“There were a lot of good individual performances, but as a team, we had a good night,” said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch. “We got the lead. It would have been good to try and hold on to it a little longer and test them to try and get the second. Aside from the goal, the Fire really didn’t have too much offensively, and that’s a little frustrating, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
The Impact’s goal began in midfield when Felipe beat a Chicago defender with a move to the outside to play the ball down the right flank to forward Sanna Nyassi. Sanna showed patience before crossing the ball into the box to Arnaud, who beat the Fire goalkeeper far post, top corner with a jumping header.
“It was a special feeling…a special moment,” said Arnaud. “Not just for me, but also for the guys, and for the club. But it would have felt even better if we got the three points.”
The Fire tied the game in the 71st when midfielder Sebastian Grazzini played a chip ball into the box. Oduro lunged forward to get his foot on it, beating Impact goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts low, to his left.
The Impact almost opened the scoring in the 17th minute when midfielder Justin Mapp cut to the inside of the field and played a through ball to Felipe down the left wing. Felipe’s low cross into the box to forward Justin Braun was redirected just over the net from about 15 yards out.
Supporters jumped out of their seats in the 35th minute when Justin Mapp played a through ball to Braun, who scored, but had the goal called back due to an offside.
In the 86th minute, forward Bernardo Corradi played a one touch ball down the right flank to a streaking Sanna. The move inside caused the Fire defender to slip, leaving Sanna a little room in the box, but his short angle shot was stopped by the keeper.
Then in the 94th minute, forward Andrew Wenger chested down a ball that was played deep towards the edge of the 18 yard box, where he laid the ball off to defender Josh Gardner. Gardner fired a bullet from about 35 yards out, crashing off the goal post.
“Overall, I thought the boys played well today and we deserved the three points,” said Gardner. “The first half we played well, and the second we had some moments, but overall I thought we did enough to win the game.”
The Impact broke the attendance record for a professional soccer game in Montreal, originally established when the Montreal Manic beat the Chicago Sting in front of 58,542 supporters, in 1981.
“The crowd was great tonight,” added Marsch. “The men really enjoyed playing in front of the home crowd and showing them what they are about. A couple of different breaks and maybe we get the three points instead of one.”