After a first half defensive effort from Colorado which resulted in both sides entering halftime scoreless, Montreal Impact midfielder Saphir Taider scored two goals (55’,56’) in quick succession to give the hosts a 2-0 lead. Dominique Badji would respond with a goal for Colorado in the 78th minute, but Montreal walked away with the win Saturday night at Stade Saputo.
Here are three takeaways from the Colorado Rapids’ 2-1 loss to Montreal:
The Saphir Taider Experience
Despite his reputation for being a facilitator in the midfield, Impact fans have been wanting a bit more out of their Algerian Designated Player, who had just notched one goal and three assists in 17 starts heading into Saturday’s match.
But the match against Colorado was a coming out party of sorts for the 26-year-old, who bagged his first brace in MLS.
“It’s always nice to score goals, but it isn’t my strong suite, I’m not really a goal scorer,” Taider explained. “I like touching the ball and creating opportunities. Tonight, was different, but it was especially a good team effort that gave us the big three points.”
It was a dominating performance from Montreal, who outshot Colorado 21-2, including seven on-target efforts. Colorado failed to register a shot on goal for most of the game until Dominique Badji’s goal on a set piece opportunity in the 78th minute.
Montreal also bossed possession with nearly 70 percent of the ball to Colorado’s 30, as the Rapids once again bunkered for the third-straight road game, after earning their first road points of the season earlier in the week.
“I think coming in at half-time, there was no major danger,” Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson explained. “I think we started to grow into the game with the ball. And we wanted to do that in the second half even more – to have more possession. And when a couple of mistakes like that happen, it really puts you on the back foot and they have some very good players.”
On the opposing touchline, it was all about Rémi Garde prepping his players to avoid a “trap game” and continuing to stick with the high press.
“I found my players were very focused on the task at hand, and very focused on this game,” said the Impact head coach. “It wasn’t a mistake to have told them that this was a game that could’ve been difficult to handle. I’m very satisfied, and I find the group is becoming more mature. This game was a good test in that regard.”
In what has been one of the Rapids worst seasons both statistically and in terms of results, Anthony Hudson continues to make excuses for his team’s poor performances.
“I think we need to get over this week. We’ve probably spent more time in airports than on the training pitch,” Hudson told reporters postgame. “And we’ve barely trained. I think we trained our first session today really, the day of the game. It was tough for the lads this week. They’ve given everything today. And we just need to get back to normality next week and to our normal routine.”
Travel is the latest in Colorado’s growing list of excuses for 2018, which includes the rebuilding process, having a new culture and head coach and referees. Those are valid issues, but issues that every team in MLS deals with year in and year out.
Deflection isn’t new in the Anthony Hudson playbook. New Zealand fans will recall his complaints about travel, jet fighters and fireworks for their World Cup playoff against Peru.
In contrast, Rapids defender Danny Wilson, gave a take that included much more personal accountability.
“I think you always get what you deserve in football,” said Wilson. “We gave away sloppy goals, so we don’t deserve to win the game. You didn’t see them give us those opportunities. Maybe if we had we would’ve taken them but they saw the game better than we did. We didn’t carry much of a threat tonight like we did last weekend in Vancouver, but we’ll pick ourselves up and go again.”