What had all the makings of a comfortable victory for the Montreal Impact turned into a disappointing draw in the span of 11 minutes.
A penalty called on Laurent Ciman—converted by Nicolas Lodeiro in the 83rd minute—and a late stoppage-time goal by Will Bruin gave the Seattle Sounders a draw that left the Impact at a loss for what went wrong.
“It’s as if my team was just waiting for the final whistle, that’s what pissed me off,” said Impact head coach Mauro Biello. “In the end, you gotta play with urgency all the time.”
Among the issues with Montreal’s result Saturday was the team’s fitness. Goalkeeper Evan Bush stresses that players should put in extra effort in training if they feel unfit.
“I’d rather put the work on a Tuesday or Wednesday and then play the game on Saturday than flip through the week and then give up a two-goal lead on Saturday,” Bush said.
In the end, the player who reacted the fastest in the dying minutes of the game was Will Bruin. The former Houston Dynamo striker came off the bench for Roman Torres late in the game and gave his team a point with his first goal as a Sounder.
“The ball took a few friendly bounces on the turf,” said Bruin. “I kinda saw it there and I was the first to react and pounce on it. I toe poked it so quickly that it just kind of froze [Evan] Bush.”
“It definitely felt good, hopefully it will open the floodgates and there are more to come.”
In order for a 0-1 start not to tumble into a 0-2 championship hangover, the come-from-behind draw was big for the Sounders. The team, which went through a full travel day on Thursday and only one day to get used to the artificial turf, was understandably elated at the comeback and hard-earned road point.
“Going in to the next game we needed this point to go over with a little confidence and that’s what we did,” said Oniel Fisher. “This point was crucial for us today.”
Harry Shipp, who was playing his first game back in Montreal after being traded in the offseason, noticed his team’s 2016 championship-winning calibre in the last few minutes of the game.
“To have the guys being down 2-0 and to have these guys show the confidence, I think that’s what you get from a team that won the championship last year,” said Shipp. “We believe we’re going to win every game no matter what the score is.”
The 25 year-old who was subbed off at the 72nd minute saw the comeback from the bench but took his experience of the Big O’s bumpy turf to good use by talking about it to his teammates before the game.
“For me, I’m used to the touch, I’m used to the surface so I think I was able to get the ball down and connect passes and I think that I did that pretty well throughout the game,” Shipp told SBI.
Shipp also thinks that his style of play fits better with the Sounders than Montreal, where he spent one season.
“I think we want to be a tempo-setting team whereas Montreal for the most part they try to score goals on the counter,” Shipp told SBI. “For me and my skill set, I think it probably lends itself more towards this new team in terms of dictating the tempo and connect passes.”
Both Shipp and Bruin agree that artificial surface is the worst to play on in MLS. Bruin even added that he though the surface was “Velcro-ed in.”
“I said it when I was here playing,” said Shipp. “You like it when you’re [an Impact player] because other teams hate it more than you do but it’s pretty bad.”