“For us, it was important to continue even though it was the last game,” Impact coach Wilmer Cabrera said. “But at the end, everything matters. You have to provide the fans and the club with an idea that, yes we came short but we were growing.”
The Impact opened the score in the 23rd minute with Bojan Krkic’s third goal of the season. Samuel Piette sent a deep through ball for Orji Okonkwo down the right flank. Okonkwo sent a back pass towards the middle for the Spaniard who tapped in the opening goal.
Montreal doubled its lead at the 37th minute thanks to confusion by the Red Bulls defense. Impact defender Jukka Raitala was taken down in the box and Red Bulls players began to argue with the referee, leaving Maxi Urruti alone with the ball. The Argentine easily scored his fourth of the season, giving the Impact a 2-0 lead.
Okonkwo got his team a third goal in the second half. Bacary Sagna sent in a cross from the right flank and the 21-year-old chested the ball into the net. The Nigerian youth international said he came to Montreal to prove a point and liked what he brought to his loan club.
Oct 6, 2019; Montreal, Quebec, CAN;Montreal Impact Impact forward Maximiliano Urruti (37) scores a goal against New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles (31) during the first half at Stade Saputo. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
“My goal was to score 15 or 10 goals, but I scored eight. It’s not bad,” he said of the season. “I tried to do my best, and for me the most important thing is to make the fans happy.”
Okonkwo added that he isn’t sure what his future holds. He will return to Bologna FC because his loan deal expires at the end of the year.
Piatti’s future still up in air
Ignacio Piatti substituted off in the 85th minute to a standing ovation. Fans at Stade Saputo, still wondering if it might be Piatti’s last game, wanted to give him a proper sendoff just in case.
Piatti’s teammates made a little celebration around him following the final whistle. The team then ran a lap of the field to thank the fans for the 2019 season.
“We don’t know anything. We simply wanted to thank him,” Saphir Taider said. “You never know. We don’t make the decisions, so we wanted to have as much fun as we could with him.”
Said Cabrera: “He’s an outstanding player, that’s why he has been the face of this club, the icon of this club. You feel the respect from the opponents when he’s on the field.”
Sporting director Olivier Renard said he has already started discussions with Piatti, according to TVA Sports. Renard also intends to speak to every player on Monday.
Olivier Renard sur Nacho Piatti :
"J'ai rencontré l'agent de Nacho cette semaine. Je rencontrerai tous les joueurs demain."#IMFC
— Nicolas A Martineau (@nikmartineauTVA) October 6, 2019
Piette also said he briefly spoke with Renard about his contract and relayed the information to his agent. Piette is set to leave for the Canadian men’s national team on Monday.
— Tristan D'Amours (@tristandamours) October 7, 2019
Cabrera has no regrets
Cabrera didn’t know much about Montreal and the Impact before moving there from the Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference. However, the Colombian said he enjoyed his time in La Belle Province.
“It was a risk, yes. It could’ve been positive or negative at the end, but if don’t take risks in life we cannot enjoy,” Cabrera said. “I enjoyed coming over here, learning a little bit of French, learning about Quebec, the city and the fans, the weather, traffic — I’m blessed and I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with the Montreal Impact.”
Cabrera doesn’t know whether he’ll have a future in Montreal after the disappointing season, however he said it felt good to see the Impact win the Voyageurs Cup and qualify for the Concacaf Champions League for the first time in five years.
“If it’s me or someone else, the club continues,” Cabrera said. “Again, we are tools for the players, for the clubs, but I don’t have any regrets.”