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Impact tie Red Bulls as both teams remain winless

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The Canadian Press
4/5/2014 8:23:45 PM
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MONTREAL -- Matteo Ferrari describes the Montreal Impact as "a team that likes offence but doesn't like to defend."

Those traits were clear to the 24,071 at Olympic Stadium on Saturday as the Impact dominated the scoring chances but settled for a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls in a battle of still-winless Major League Soccer teams.

And the home side was lucky to get a point, as Peguy Luyindula put a penalty shot off a goalpost that could have given New York a 3-1 lead early in the second half.

The Impact tied the game in the 60th minute on Felipe Martins' header.

Andres Romero scored in the fifth minute for Montreal (0-3-2), only to see turnovers lead to goals three minutes apart from Jonny Steele and Luyindula in the first half for the Red Bulls (0-1-4).

New Impact coach Frank Klopas, still looking for his first win, has been trying to get his team to avoid forcing the play in the midfield and giving the ball away, but they have been slow learners thus far.

Ferrari, the veteran Italian central defender, is one of those who has to deal with the consequences when opponents counterattack.

"We played well, we had a lot of chances to score, but in the end, if we don't pay attention to the defensive part it's going to be all the time counterattacks," the 34-year-old said. "The last games, every time we lose the ball badly, they score.

"I don't want to be negative, but when you score two goals, it should be enough to win. We have to be more concentrated without the ball."

The Impact controlled most of the game and swarmed the Red Bulls' net repeatedly, but either missed their shots or were foiled by goalkeeper Luis Robles. Montreal led 21-13 in shot attempts and 12-4 in shots on goal.

Striker Marco Di Vaio was in alone a handful of times and failed to convert. Justin Mapp was stopped from just outside the six-yard box and Romero was robbed by Robles as he hammered a Di Vaio rebound on target from 10 yards out.

At the other end, the Red Bulls made the most of their chances and earned their fourth draw in a row.

"Coming into Montreal and getting a point -- you take it," said New York coach Mike Petke. "We seem to like ties, but it's still early in the season."

The Red Bulls had a glorious chance to secure a win when Ferrari got an arm around Bradley Wright-Phillips in the area, but Luyindula hit the woodwork from the spot in the 48th minute. Ferrari escaped without seeing the red card.

"I don't know if it was a penalty or not, but I felt like the referee was not sure about it," said Ferrari. "If you make a penalty, it should be a red card and they send me off.

"Anyway, they didn't score. We had another chance to stay in the game."

Felipe started and finished the tying goal when he played a long ball to Mapp on the right side and went to the net to head in his first of the season.

"I believed we would score," said Felipe, whose team was coming off a 1-1 draw last week in Philadelphia. "We had a lot of chances and didn't get the three points, so that's sad. We played well but we made mistakes and we tied again."

Ferrari said his team has been the same since they entered MLS in 2012 -- good at moving forward and getting chances and bad at getting back to cover when mistakes are made.

The back line gets much of the blame from fans when goals are conceded, which Ferrari finds unfair.

"This is a team that likes offence but doesn't like to defend, so the defence in the back suffers," he said. "Also our field is very big and there's a lot of ground to cover.

"It's not easy. Today we saw it. Against Seattle (a 2-0 loss in their home opener) it was the same. We have to work on that and do better because every week we're here talking about us not winning and the win isn't coming."

Asked if pressure was starting to build on the team, Ferrari smiled.

"Pressure is something else," he said. "It's when you don't have food to give to your kids.

"It's still a game. I played in a place like Roma, like Turkey. That's pressure. When you don't win, they wait for you outside the stadium to break your car. But I'm not happy because, as a defender, I can't be happy when every game you concede one or two and sometimes three goals."

It looked like the Impact would romp when Romero scored. The goal was set up when Heath Pearce recovered a ball and Felipe slipped it to the Argentine midfielder for a shot off the far post.

Then New York's Lloyd Sam got a cross past Heath and Steele beat defender Eric Miller to the ball to nudge it across the line in the 31st.

Only three minutes later, Di Vaio's weak cross-field pass was picked off by Steele, who sent it to Luyindula breaking in on the right to score for a second game in a row.

The Red Bulls had to draw on their depth as several of their starters sat out.

Forward Thierry Henry, who has seven goals in four games against Montreal, and defender Jamison Olave weren't in the lineup because both have health issues playing on artificial turf.

Forward Tim Cahill (hamstring) and defender Richard Eckersley (ankle) were hurt in last week's 1-1 draw with Chivas USA.

Also, veteran midfielder Dax McCarty didn't start, but Petke said he sent him in after the intermission because Roy Miller had suffered an Achilles tendon injury.

The Impact defeated the Red Bulls 1-0 at the Big O early last season, then lost to them twice in New York.

Notes -- Striker Jack McInerney, obtained Friday in a trade with Philadelphia, is to join the Impact on Monday. As No. 9 is taken by Di Vaio, he will wear No. 99. The Impact had no lineup changes from last week, with Di Vaio, Romero and Pearce each getting a second start in a row.

Sam and Romero battle for ball (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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