Injury-struck Impact not concerned about blown lead, winless record

Injury-struck Impact not concerned about blown lead, winless record

MONTREAL — If giving up the tying goal in added time was a setback, the Montreal Impact say they are not going to dwell on it.

The Impact looked to have three precious away points in the bag last Saturday in Chicago when they gave up a sloppy goal and had to settle for a 2-2 draw, leaving them winless in four games to start the MLS season (0-1-3).

But considering they were without star midfielder Ignacio Piatti, top defender Laurent Ciman and fullback Ambroise Oyongo, and that a minor injury limited captain Patrice Bernier to substitute duty, it wasn’t all that bad.

“Of course there’s frustration when you give up goals late in games to throw away points, but at the same time you need to understand it’s a long season,” goalkeeper Even Bush said Wednesday. “There’s no panic.

“We’re playing pretty well for the most part. Especially on the road the last couple of games, we put ourselves in position to go home with points. We have one more on the road now and then we’ll come back home and try to put up some points.”

The Impact play Friday against the struggling Galaxy in Los Angeles (0-2-2). Four of the Impact’s first five games will be played away from Saputo Stadium, where they return April 15 against Atlanta.

In Chicago, they took a 2-1 lead in the 90th minute on a goal from 18-year-old Ballou Tabla only to see the Fire equalize with just over a minute left in injury time. It recalled their home game at Olympic Stadium in the second week of the season when they led 2-0 but let Seattle tie it up.

“In the end when I look at the Chicago game, if Ballou doesn’t score and we come out 1-1, it’s a positive result with four starters out of the game,” said coach Mauro Biello. “The emotions of taking the lead and letting it slip was the disappointment, but once you reflect on it, it’s a point we would take.”

There will be players missing again this week.

Piatti did some running Thursday but won’t be ready to rejoin training until next week. Central defender Victor Cabrera will sit out a one-game suspension for seeing a red card in Chicago while one of the backups, Wandrille Lefevre, is sick and won’t make the trip to Los Angeles.

Ciman was back to training but Biello said he had to be evaluated after the six-hour flight to the west coast before it could be confirmed that he can play.

Oyongo will be back after missing a game due to a mix-up over the ticket for his return flight after playing a friendly match for Cameroon in Brussels. He got back only two days before the game in Chicago and Biello felt he would not be ready, so backup Daniel Lovitz played.

Oyongo said he was given a return ticket by the Cameroon soccer federation but asked that it be changed to flight later in the day. He never got the new ticket and was left stranded at the airport.

“I asked them to change it because I thought there were two flights and the federation also thought there were two, including one that went through Frankfurt,” said Oyongo. “But here wasn’t any flight and I had to wait until the next morning.

“I felt a bit abandoned, but it was resolved. The (Impact) got me a ticket and I was able to come back.”

Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press

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