The Montreal Impact played Olympique Lyonnais to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night in front of a record crowd at Stade Saputo of 19,225 spectators. The French visitors then took the shootout 4-2 in the club’s first international match since joining MLS.
Olympique Lyonnais opened the score in the 28th minute when Jeremy Pied converted a Lisandro Lopez pass from just outside the 18 yard box. His low shot to the far post found the back of the net to the left of Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush.
The Impact then evened things up in the 39th minute. Midfielder Patrice Bernier played a ball to Andrew Wenger near the right corner of the box. The Impact’s number one draft pick in the last SuperDraft played the ball inside, turned and fired a left-footer from the half-circle that curled inside the left post. Wenger played in his first game for the Impact since June 20 against Chivas USA after being sidelined with a left hamstring injury.
In the shootout, Calum Mallace and Sinisa Ubiparipovic scored for the Impact, while Bafétimbi Gomis scored the winner for OL.
“The team they put on the field in the first half was a really great team,” said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch. “It was a great challenge to play against a team like that. There was a lot of soccer in the game, and there were chances for both teams. It was a real confidence boost for a lot of guys tonight.”
“It was good to get out there and play 90 minutes,” said goalkeeper Evan Bush. “It was great to see the great crowd. Playing a Champion’s League team is exciting and it is something I’ll remember for a long time.”
“Montreal was a good opponent today,” said Olympique Lyonnais goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. “There were good scoring chances for both sides.”
“I think the difference tonight was the athleticism, as we are still in preseason and they are already in midseason,” said OL head coach Remy Garde. “But, I wasn’t surprised at the level. Soccer in North America is getting better and better.”
Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush came up with a total of eight saves, making several key stops during the game. OL had the first good scoring chance in the game’s 20th minute when a Clement Grenier free-kick from deep down the left flank found Jimmy Briand near the corner of the six yard box, but his flick was pushed over the bar.
The American keeper then pushed another one over in the 42nd minute when Bafetimbi Gomis fired a shot that was dipping just under the bar.
Bush was then forced to make another two saves back-to-back in the 62nd minute when Briand hammered the ball towards the right post. Bush made a diving save to his left, and then jumped back up and dove the other way to block the rebound shot from Gomis
The Impact’s first chance came in the 24th minute when Andrew Wenger broke in towards goal. He cut inside to beat OL defender Cris, and hammered a shot from the centre of the field, just outside the box, forcing goalkeeper Hugo Lloris into a huge diving save to his right.
Then in the 30th minute, Wenger played a cross from deep down the right side towards the second post. Midfielder Justin Mapp hammered a left-footed volley towards the opposite post, but Lloris made another great stop, diving to his left.
Former Italian National Team defender Alessandro Nesta made his debut for the Impact, playing 63 minutes, while wearing the captain’s armband in the second half.
Defenders Nelson Rivas and Matteo Ferrari both saw action in the game; a first since returning from lengthy injuries that kept that out of the lineup for over a month.