Impact underwhelm in 3-1 loss to New England
Montreal Impact's Lassi Lappalainen, right, heads the ball as New England Revolution's Henry Kessler, left, pursues during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
MONTREAL -- Montreal Impact manager Thierry Henry did not mince words when he assessed his team's performance Wednesday night.
"We refused to play, that's unfortunate," he said. "We're going to try to lift up our spirits and continue."
Rookie Henry Kessler scored his first MLS goal and the New England Revolution beat the Impact 3-1 on Wednesday night. Gustavo Bao and Diego Fagundez also scored for the Revs. Lassi Lappalainen scored for Montreal.
New England (4-3-6) won for the first time this season at Gillette Stadium. Montreal (5-7-1) lost its third straight match, getting outscored 10-3, but finished with 11 men for the first time in four matches.
"Today feels like our first real loss, if I can say it that way, because we played with 11 men," midfielder Samuel Piette said.
"We didn't really play well. We didn't win our battles. We didn't show up when we had to, to get on the ball."
Montreal was without its leading scorer Romell Quioto, who was out on a red-card suspension.
"We tried to find other solutions," Henry said. "We really missed Romell this afternoon."
The Impact were also without midfielder Saphir Taider, who was injured in training Tuesday evening. To make matters worse, the team lost Orji Okwonkwo to injury in the first half.
Henry also lamented the lack of match fitness for players like Maxi Urruti, who was subbed on in the game's second half. He admitted not having the advantage of playing in Montreal, while losing players due to injury or discipline, is starting to weigh on him.
"These are things that must be managed when you're away from home,"
It is the Impact's second loss to the Revs this season. Montreal defeated New England 2-1 in February prior to the league's shutdown, but New England got their revenge in a 1-0 win in July.
"I felt a certain fatigue from everybody, mental fatigue and physical fatigue," Henry said. "Unfortunately, it happened to us again against New England just like when we played them in the Orlando bubble."
Kessler gave New England a 1-0 lead in first-half stoppage time by settling a deflected corner kick with his chest and sending it inside the post. Bou made it 2-0 in the opening minutes of the second half with an individual effort from the top of the box.
Impact defender Luis Binks received a yellow card in the second half after keeping his foot on Bou while he was down. He avoided a second booking, which would have led to a fourth straight game where the Impact were forced to play with 10 men.
Fagundez scored his first goal of the season in the 65th for a 3-0 lead. Lappalainen got Montreal on the board in the 86th with a breakaway goal.
Montreal is one of three Canadian MLS teams playing home games in the United States because of COVID-19 border restrictions. The Impact are hosting games at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
The team has already played four games in 10 days and will play a fifth in 14 days this coming Sunday, hoping to snap their three-game losing streak.
"We are professionals and we need to play the games that are scheduled," Impact forward Bojan said. "Like everyone knows, and realizes, we have many games in a short time. Travels here, travels there. It's a difficult situation for everyone."
The Impact return to action Sunday night against Red Bull Arena's main tenants, the New York Red Bulls.
-- With files from The Associated Press
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2020.