The Montreal Impact players will go home with their legs probably still heavy and sore, but certainly lighter in heart.
The Montreal squad completed a grueling five-game streak in 14 days with a 2-1 victory over Inter Miami CF on Saturday night at Red Bull Arena.
Returning to the field after missing Wednesday's game against the New England Revolution, Bojan scored his third goal of the season early in the first half. He then earned an assist on the winning goal, managed by Maximiliano Urruti during the 80 th minute.
Brek Shea beat goalkeeper James Pantemis, who was making a second straight start in the absence of Clément Diop, who had left the team for France hours before Wednesday's game.
“We needed this victory,” said Bojan.
PHOTO VINCENT CARCHIETTA, USA TODAY SPORTS
Bojan Krkic foils John McCarthy.
“Like we said, we have a good team, we have good players and today it was important to win this game for everyone. And we did. "
The win allows the Impact (7-10-2) to settle in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings with 23 points, one less than the New York Red Bulls.
He also pushed Miami (5-11-3) to five points behind the Montreal team while a win would have allowed him to pass one point in front of Thierry Henry's troop.
The Impact concluded this grueling five-game series with a 2-2-1 record, with another victory against one of the best teams in MLS, the Columbus Crew on October 7.
The Impact will benefit from a full week off before resuming the collar next Saturday against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium.
It is not clear whether Bojan's return served as a stimulus, but the fact remains that the Impact had one of its best game starts of the season.
Thierry Henry's men threatened John McCarthy's fortress in the fifth minute of play, courtesy of Urruti and Samuel Piette.
About a minute later, the Impact broke the tie with a shot from Bojan from a good ten meters outside the penalty area, which once jumped close to the goal area before to outsmart McCarthy to his left.
“We wanted to start the match strong and have a good start, unlike the previous two games. That was our main topic of discussion before the game, and I thought we played very well in the first half, ”said defenseman Joel Waterman.
The Impact maintained its grip on the ball and already had eight shots at the net, including four on target, after 18 minutes of play, without however managing to double its lead.
The Impact's lack of finish allowed the Floridian troops to stay within range and come back to score.
Posted at the entrance to the penalty area, Shea fired a shot that deflected on Zachary Brault-Guillard's right foot before surprising Pantemis, who touched the ball with his hand but failed to control it.
In videoconference, Thierry Henry spoke of a team victory and said he was satisfied with the reaction of his players after the equalizing goal in Miami.
“We continued to work, we gained momentum in the second half despite all the games we played, like them for that matter,” Henry first remarked.
The Impact started the second half with the same enthusiasm as the first, as Quioto, Piette and Urruti forced McCarthy to intervene during the first seven minutes of the period.
Gradually, Inter Miami became more incisive in attack and was able to invade Montreal territory, without succeeding in scoring the goal that would have allowed them to take the lead.
Then, against all odds, the Impact broke this tie with less than 10 minutes to go in regulation time.
A skilful pass from Quioto to the penalty area created a two-attacking situation against McCarthy. Bojan, who had received the pass from Quioto, relayed the ball to Urruti who had no difficulty pushing the ball into an empty net.
Not discouraged, the Miami players got more scoring chances for the next ten minutes and the four or so others added during stoppage time, but Pantemis and the Impact held on.