TORONTO, Ontario - In its second-to-last game of the season, the Montreal Impact (12-15-6) played to a 0-0 draw with Toronto FC (5-20-8) at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon, in Toronto, Ontario.
The draw extended the Impact's unbeaten streak to three games, following ties against Kansas City at Stade Saputo and the Dynamo in Houston.
With the draw, the Impact sits on 42 points with one game remaining, tied with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC as the best Canadian team in MLS and for the first seed in the 2013 Amway Canadian Championship. Vancouver still has two games to play this season.
The Impact dominated possession with 55%, along with duels won at 52% and attempts on goal (17-11).
Perkins made two of his seven saves in the first half to keep the score tied and help earn his fourth shutout in eight games with the Impact this season - 40th of his career. In the 6th minute, Perkins stopped a header by TFC forward Eric Hassli from the top of the box. A turnover in the 41st minute forced Perkins to parry a dangerous shot from Eric Avila, who fired one from outside the right corner of the 18 yard box.
The Impact's starting lineup looked a little different for this game as midfielder Davy Arnaud, who surpassed 22,000 minutes played for his career, made his first of 30 starts this season as a right back. Midfielder Calum Mallace started his second game in a row in midfield, shifting Collen Warner, who returned to the lineup following a one-game suspension, to the wing.
Defender Dennis Iapichino made his first appearance since playing 90 minutes against DC United back on August 25 at Stade Saputo, coming on in the 87th minute.
"It's a big challenge that has been proven over and over again" said assistant coach Mike Sorber. "We had the chances, we created some chances and if we put one away, its three points. We anticipated this type of game from Toronto. Overall, we put in good effort and we walk away with a point on the road."
"Even though we earned a point on the road, we are disappointed that we weren't able to capitalize on our scoring chances," said defender Hassoun Camara. "It's a bit frustrating. We played well as a group, moved the ball forward and now we just have to make sure we get the three points at home next weekend."
"Our finishing was lacking for the entire game," added midfielder Patrice Bernier. "It's too bad because the game was wide open. We were able to limit their scoring chances and Troy (Perkins) made some key stops. We expended a lot of energy in our last matchup and we really wanted to avenge the 3-0 loss, but maybe we were missing that killer instinct today to put the ball in the net."
In the 13th minute, Impact midfielder Sanna Nyassi, making his 50th career MLS start, played a deep through ball down the left flank to forward Andrew Wenger, who squeezed through two TFC defenders. Wenger put a low, left-footed shot passed the TFC keeper, who came out to challenge at the top the box, but the shot bounced wide of the far post.
In the 62nd minute, Wenger fired another shot from outside the box, this time from the right side, which gave Hall a little trouble, bouncing low in front of the keeper as he fell to his knees.
The Impact looked dangerous in extra time. Di Vaio had a good chance in the 91st minute when midfielder Justin Mapp played a through ball down the right flank to defender Davy Arnaud. His low cross towards the penalty spot found Di Vaio, but the DP's one-timed shot was blocked by a defender.
Then, a short time later, midfielder Collen Warner ran onto the ball near the right corner of the box, but his shot, curling for the far corner, was tipped away by a diving Hall.
Impact assistant coach Mike Sorber served as the bench boss for this matchup as head coach Jesse Marsch was serving a one-game suspension following his ejection from the game in Houston.
Midfielder Sanna Nyassi will miss the last game of the season with an automatic one game suspension due to yellow card accumulation after being cautioned in the 87th minute.
The Impact returns home for its final game of the season on Saturday, October 27, to host the New England Revolution at Stade Saputo, 2pm (ET). The club plans to use the day to thank its supporters. Good tickets for the last game of the season are still available via admission.com or by calling 1-855-790-1245.
As part of Supporters Day, Impact tuques sponsored by Kia will be given to the first 8,000 people at Stade Saputo, while an official team poster, thanks to Coors Light, will be given away following the game, as well as rebates of up to 50% on selected items at the boutique. After the game, the Impact will organize a historic photo opportunity with hundreds of fans on the field.
The Impact U21 team: Field Change
The semi-final game between the Montreal Impact U21s and the York Region Shooters on Sunday, October 21, which was set for the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex, has been moved to the Saint-Jean-Vianney Sports Complex at 2pm (ET). The game is open to the public and admission is free.
MTL: GK - Troy Perkins; D - Davy Arnaud, Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Jeb Brovsky (Dennis Iapichino 87'); M - Collen Warner, Patrice Bernier, Calum Mallace (Justin Mapp 64'), Sanna Nyassi; F- Marco Di Vaio, Andrew Wenger (Lamar Neagle 71')
Subs not used: GK - Evan Bush; D - Alessandro Nesta, Shavar Thomas; F - Eduardo Sebrango
TOR: GK - Freddy Hall; D - Ashtone Morgan, Logan Emory (Adrian Cann 59'), Richard Eckersley, Jeremy Hall; M - Aaron Maund, Eric Avila, Reggie Lambe, Terry Dunfield; F - Luis Silva, Eric Hassli (Andrew Wiedeman 81')
Subs not used: GK - Milos Kocic; D - Doneil Henry, Dicoy Williams; M - Oscar Cordon, Nicholas Lindsay
MTL - Arnaud 28'
TOR - Dunfield 39'
MTL - Camara 73'
MTL - Nyassi 87'