For a Montreal Impact side that conceded 14 goals in its first seven games this season, defending has been a glaring problem. But on a frigid and rainy Saturday afternoon against the Philadelphia Union, the Impact proved difficult to break down as they gutsily held on to a 1-0 win.
After Felipe scored the game’s solitary goal for the Impact in the 15th minute, the Union enjoyed most of the ball possession, but the Impact successfully kept the visitors’ attack at bay as they doggedly defended deep in their own half.
The Impact’s firm defensive performance against Philadelphia was a far cry from the humiliation they endured last weekend in Kansas City, where a youthful and experimental Impact side was easily picked apart and handed a thumping 4-0 loss.
Veteran defender Matteo Ferrari attributed the sudden defensive improvement to the return of Jeb Brovsky and Hassoun Camara, players who were mainstays on the outside of defense last season but who hadn’t yet played together in their respective fullback positions before Saturday’s game.
“Jeb and Hassoun are two very important players for us; they were very important for us last year and this year, between injuries and a new coach that needed time to get to know us, we never really found a tactical arrangement that could give us stability, but today we went back to our roots,” Ferrari told Goal Canada after the win. “I have to say that I’m very happy for the way we worked and for the fact that we didn’t concede any goals, even if we didn’t play our best soccer.”
After a training week where head coach Frank Klopas suggested that it wasn’t ideal for Brovsky - a naturally right-footed player - to operate at left back, the Colorado native learned in the hours leading up to the game on Saturday that he would take up that very position, one that he held for most of last season.
Brovsky highlighted the overall mentality of the team.
“It was a 1-0 win that showed a lot of character,” Brovsky told assembled media following the game. “The guys in the back – Karl (Ouimette), Hassoun, Matteo – you can’t say enough about these guys and Troy (Perkins) coming up big at the end - it was just a team effort.
“We have to win these kind of games over the course of the season.”
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- Hassoun Camara
- Matteo Ferrari
- Jeb Brovsky
- Philadelphia Union