Columbus Crew's Misery Continues as Montreal Impact Claim Three Points
(Photo credit:USA Today Sports)

Columbus Crew’s quest for an MLS win in 2016 continues as last years MLS Cup runners up lost 2-0 away to an Ignacio Piatti inspired Montreal Impact.

The stop-start game saw the Impact bag two goals in the second half, the first came from Hassoun Camara, who headed in the opener three minutes after the restart. The winner came five minutes from time when Kyle Bekker poked in the second to seal the three points for the Canadian side.

A livley start

The Impact were quick off the mark in the opening minutes and attacked the visiting team straight from kick-off. Harry Shipp was allowed plenty of room in the fourth minute to fire a strike from close range, but a good block from Michael Parkhurst sent the goal bound shot spiralling out for a corner.

Piatti was again showing his magic as the playmaker has been doing all season when the Argentine midfielder swept aside Federico Higuain before laying off Lucas Ontivero from outside the box. However, the winger fired the ball straight into the palms off Steve Clark.

Exploiting the wing

Montreal’s dominance in attack meant that their defence had been stretched apart, allowing the tricky Columbus wingers to exploit the outer channels. It almost paid off 13 minutes in when Justin Meram was picked out unmarked on the wing, a quick ball into the area found the feet of Kei Kamara, but the striker couldn’t keep the ball down, and Kamara’s shot blazed over the bar.

Whilst the chance was squandered, it gave the out-of-form Columbus team hope that they could continue to press Montreal, with most of their action again coming down the flanks.

Montreal mounts the pressure

Yet Montreal pushed forward, and Piatti was at the heart of another good chance for the hosts in the 20th minute as the 29-year-old glided past the Columbus defence before again laying off Ontivero, but his curling strike from distance smacked the outside of the post with the keeper well.

Despite the confidence from both sides shown earlier in the match, the game resorted too an uneventful period as the defences of both teams held strong against one another.

Ethan Finlay should given the visitors the lead one minute from time when the USA international was fed in by Harrison Afful, but from six-yards out, the winger sent the ball into Row Z with a terrible shot that could had given Columbus the lead.

A different half

The second half looked to have kicked off to a similar tempo to the one that the first half had ended on, boring and slow football with very little action, but Camara had other ideas as the towering centre back headed in the opener three minutes into the second half.

Camara out-muscled his marker inside the penalty area as Ontivero whipped in a corner from the right side, picking out the French centre back who guided the ball past Clark with a thumping header, to give the hosts the lead.

Photo: USA Today Sports
Photo: USA Today Sports

The game turns on its head

The game had turned from a dull passing game to a full-on frontal assault from both teams. Kamara was leading the Crew from the front, but it was the hosts who would come close to the second goal of the match as Dominic Oduro used his blistering pace to split the Crew midfield in two to set up a three-on-two scenario, however the striker’s effort flew straight at Clark, and the lucky rebound off the Columbus keeper was scrambled behind for a corner.

A similar pattern

The game followed suit of the first half, and entertaining open stages before petering out to a dull defensive battle between the two teams. Cedrick and Ola Kamara were introduced for Columbus in the 70th minute to add fresh legs upfront, however the Crew could not find a way though a tough Montreal defence.

Piatti though was making the best of a tired Columbus back four, first the captain fired a good volley goal wards only for it to be saved by Clark, and later in the 79th minute Piatti led a promising counter attack with Johan Venegas, but his counterpart could not beat the Columbus keeper from close range.

The nail in the coffin

The game looked to be finishing 1-0, however Bekker doubled the hosts lead in the 86th minute to seal the three points for the Impact.

Ambroise Oyongo sprinted down the right wing with all the time in the world, before whipping in a cross over the heads of the Columbus defence, and an on running Bekker looped the ball over Clark with a great high header, to make it 2-0 to Montreal with five minutes to go.

Kamara came close to a consolation goal moments later, however Evan Bush got low to save the shot, and the Impact held on to claim an important three points in the early stages of the game.