Frank Klopas’s starting lineup hinted he was looking toward Champions League mid-week, but there was a moment on Saturday where it seemed Montreal could actually pull off anupset in New England. Thirteen minutes in, after Jack McInerney had beat Andrew Farrell to a long diagonal, Calum Mallace buried the Impact’s first big chance, giving Klopas’s newly competitive team an early lead at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution may have won four-in-a-row — and Montreal’s lineup may have been missing Marco Di Vaio, Ignacio Piatti, Felipe, Matteo Ferrari, and Hassoun Camara — but the Impact’s new, more confident approach was going to test New England.
It took the Revs all of 12 minutes to pass that test, albeit with a little help. With a speculative shot in the 23rd minute, Kelyn Rowe showed why Klopas has gone away from Troy Perkins, with Montreal’s new number two letting in a soft goal in make it 1-1. Two minutes later, beautiful play between Lee Nguyen, Jermaine Jones, and Charlie Davies took advantage of Montreal’s disorganized defense, giving Nguyen an open chip from 12 yards out. What had looked like a potential upset became the game we expected in the span of 12 minutes.
Dilly Duka and Andres Romero maintained some of Montreal’s new-found danger, but just past the hour mark, any reason for doubt disappeared. With a hard foul on New England’s right flank, Impact defender Krzysztof Krol drew his second yellow card, leaving the underdogs to chase a 2-1 deficit down a man.
Given that disadvantage, it’s no surprise the game’s final numbers were so lopsided. New England out-shot Montreal 18-10 – 10-3, in terms of terms of shots on target. The Revs held 57 percent of the ball, while Montreal failed to register a shot on target after Krol’s dismissal.
But to the Impact’s credit, they kept the score within one – more than many would have expected, given Klopas’s starting lineup. Ultimately, the likes of Perkins, Futty Danso, Wandrille Lefebvre, Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare, and Anthony Jackson-Hamel weren’t enough to keep New England from its fifth win in a row, a victory that moves the Revs within three of second in the Eastern Conference.