Mar 31, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; Montreal Impact forward Ignacio Piatti (left) battles for the ball against Seattle Sounders FC defender Roman Torres (29) during the first half at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
SEATTLE – A Jeisson Vargas goal and a first-half red card to Kelvin Leerdam made the difference in a 1-0 win for the Montreal Impact against the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field Saturday. Seattle failed to capitalize on its chances in the second half as they finished with 10 men for the third consecutive league match.
Montreal head coach Remi Garde reflected after his team picked up its second win of the season.
“I’m quite pleased with the result and quite pleased with the way we played that game,” Garde said. “We knew that Seattle was a good team, especially at home. We were under pressure in the second half, especially when we were one man more than them, but I’m quite happy about the result.”
Montreal grabbed the lead in the 60th minute. A failed defensive clearance left Ignacio Piatti with room to work inside the penalty area. Piatti held the ball long enough to lure Sounders centerback Roman Torres into a lunging challenge, then slipped the ball by him to a waiting Vargas for an easy finish from the six-yard line.
Leerdam was dismissed in the 40th minute after referee Ismail Elfath called a foul when the right back undercut Montreal’s Daniel Lovitz.
Lovitz confronted Leerdam, who reached up and slapped Lovitz in the face with his right arm. Elfath reviewed the incident with VAR before showing Leerdam the red card.
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer removed midfielder Magnus Wolff Eikrem at halftime to put Jordan McCrary at right back, allowing Cristian Roldan to play on the right wing while Nicolas Lodeiro, making his first league appearance of the season, dropped deeper in midfield.
The change allowed Seattle to take the game to Montreal. The Sounders took nine shots in the second half against two from the Impact. A series of late free kicks challenged Montreal, but Seattle was unable to get anything by keeper Evan Bush.
Despite expressing frustration with his club’s third red card, Schmetzer acknowledged the positive offensive moments from his side.
“I thought that the chances we created with 10 men actually were pretty decent,” Schmetzer said. “Some of those set pieces we were dangerous on. Some of those balls that were blocked by their team. It was almost like we played better with 10 men. More determined.”
Three matches into its season, Seattle is the only team in MLS without a point. Schmetzer was not ready to wave the white flag just yet, however.
“I’m very confident that the entire group, not just the guys that are coming back (from injury) will change the outcome of games in the future of this club,” Schmetzer said. “It’s not like we’re giving up. The team is a good team. The team has a lot of character. They never gave up, which is a hallmark of championship teams.”