Drogba scores, Sapong equalizes, as Impact get fourth straight tie 1-1 with Union | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Drogba scores, Sapong equalizes, as Impact get fourth straight tie 1-1 with Union

May 14, 2016 - 5:31 PM

MONTREAL - Tie games are getting tiresome for the Montreal Impact.

An early goal from Didier Drogba wasn't enough on a wet Saturday at Saputo Stadium as C.J. Sapong equalized in the 24th minute and the Impact played to a 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union.

It was a fourth draw in a row for Montreal (4-3-4) and a fifth straight game without a victory for the club that started the season on fire but has since fallen prone to defensive letdowns.

"We played well for 12 minutes — after that, they dominated," said coach Mauro Biello.

For their part, Philadelphia (4-3-3) earned a third straight draw, but the surprising Union are upbeat about being unbeaten in their last four and getting a point on the road, especially after an early Montreal barage that saw Drogba score his fourth in seven games and Ignacio Piatti hit a post on what could have made it a two-goal lead inside of five minutes.

"Not happy," said Impact captain Patrice Bernier. "We started the game very well.

"We created some chances and played with a lot of spirit and passion. We didn't go up 2-0 or 3-0. We left some space and we paid for it. It seems that's happening a bit too often. We have to rectify it because if we want to win a game it's going to have to be a 90-minute, complete performance."

The day started with the Impact hanging onto a slim lead over Philadelphia and Toronto for first place in the MLS Eastern Conference, but they will need wins to stay in the battle for top spot.

Their current woes began with a 2-0 loss to TFC on April 23, their first game at Saputo Stadium after winning two home games indoors at Olympic Stadium. Since then, they have a pair of ties at home and two draws on the road earned from dramatic, last-minute strikes.

"It's kind of a Catch 22," said goalkeeper Evan Bush. "You look at the table and you're happy about that, I suppose, but you want to have more than 16 points through 11 games.

"Especially the last five games. We haven't won in five, but it's four draws in a row. It would be nice to finish off a game, especially at home, but you still have to look at the positive. We're collecting points. The negative is we gave up a goal that is the same thing again, a cross from a wide area, poor box defending and the guy smashed it home. It's another blown lead at home."

The Impact roared out in full attack mode and scored in the third minute when a Marco Donadel corner was headed by Sapong straight to Drogba at the edge of the penalty area. The Ivorian took one touch, then blasted a shot just under the bar for his fourth goal in seven games this season.

Two minutes later, Piatti dribbled through the defence and hit a goalpost, but the Union took advantage of the overly eager home side to control the ball for a long stretch leading to Sapong's equalizer in the 24th minute. A Laurent Ciman slip allowed Chris Pontius to cross from the left side to an unmarked Sebastien Le Toux, who fed Sapong in front for the tap-in goal.

Philadelphia goalie Andre Ward came up big on two more Drogba chances before the intermission, leaping to block a free kick from just outside the box and getting a hand on a head from close range. Drogba was substituted by Johan Venegas in the 60th minute after apparently pulling something in his right thigh.

Biello had no update on Drogba's condition. He is unlikely to play the next game Saturday in Orlando anyway because it will be played on an artificial surface.

A sellout crowd of 20,801 was announced, but there were no-shows as off-and-on rain showers drenched the seats and the field.

Notes — Montreal had the same starting 11 as in last week's 4-4 draw in Columbus. . . Piatti saw the yellow card in the 36th minute for kicking the ball away after being called for a tug on Vincent Noguira. Donadel and Ambroise Oyongo also saw yellow.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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