Scoring an early goal may not have been such a good thing for the Montreal Impact.
Coach Remi Garde said his squad played like they were spectators after Matteo Mancosu’s fifth-minute goal. It cost them as Yamil Asad equalized in the 70th minute to give last-place D.C. United a 1-1 draw before 19,152 at Saputo Stadium on Saturday night.
“We didn’t play smart,” said Garde. “We didn’t respect the game.”
The Impact (9-13-2) couldn’t afford to squander the points with the battle for post-season berths beginning to heat up.
The draw left Montreal winless in their last four outings, including one Canadian Championship semifinal game in Vancouver. In MLS play, the Impact are 0-1-2 in their last three.
“The draw feels like a loss, to be honest,” said midfielder Samuel Piette. “We could have won and got three points.
“It might be a point that saves us at the end of the year or the two points we lost might put us out of the playoffs. It’s tough. We needed to win.”
Rooney has several chances
D.C., coming off a home win over Colorado on Wayne Rooney’s first MLS goal last week, is 2-2-1 since the former Manchester United star signed with the club (4-9-6), which sits last in the MLS Eastern Conference but has games in hand on all opponents.
Rooney had several chances, including a shot from inside the penalty area in the 65th minute that goalkeeper Evan Bush smartly pushed over the bar.
Bush said the Impact were “a bit naive” after Mancosu’s goal, thinking it would be an easy night against a weak opponent. Instead, Rooney and his teammates stepped up their game.
It was a wild one. Final shots were 19-18, including 5-3 in D.C.’s favour in shots on target.
“As long as [D.C. coach] Ben Olsen’s been there, they don’t quit,” said Bush. “Now they have quality on their side, too.
“They can hurt you. One issue is that when you play a team that’s at the bottom of the table, if you’re not from this league, maybe you think it’s going to be a bit easier. But in this league, there’s a lot of parity. So we were a bit naive in the way we approached the last 75 minutes of that game.”
The Impact had the only goal in a back-and-forth first half that saw each team hit a post and a crossbar.
Only five minutes in, Saphir Taider and Ignacio Piatti played a give and go down the left side. Piatti cut inside for a shot that went off Kofi Opare to Mancosu, who spun and blasted a shot under the crossbar for his third goal of the season and his second in the last three games.
Two minutes later, Alejandro Silva hit a post with a soft shot. Taider hammered one off a crossbar in the 31st, but D.C. had their own chances, with Rooney hitting a post on a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box in the 37th. Russell Canouse had hit a crossbar moments earlier.
D.C. had five free kicks from dangerous areas in the half.
The visitors tied it in the 70th when Luciano Acosta slipped the ball toward two onrushing teammates, with Asad getting there just ahead of Rooney to slot it inside the near post for his ninth of the season.
Taider hit yet another post in the 75th minute on a free kick.
Piatti was shown the yellow card just over a minute in for getting an elbow up with Opare draped over his back.
Montreal fullback Daniel Lovitz sat out with a concussion and was replaced by Jukka Raitala.