FC Montreal Halt Red Bulls II’s Playoff Push
Riggi Scores Two Late Goals to Stun New York 2-0 at Stade Saputo
FC Montreal leading scorer Alessandro Riggi scored two goals to shock third-placed New York Red Bulls II Wednesday night in the penultimate game of their inaugural United Soccer League campaign.
Under the floodlights of Stade Saputo, the bleu-blanc-noir managed to snap New York’s three-game winning streak and halted their efforts to clinch a spot in the USL playoffs.
Having no chances of making the playoffs, Riggi didn’t hide that he likes to play spoiler, especially against one of the other academy affiliate teams in the USL.
“They are about the same age as us and we like to prove that we are the best academy in Canada and the U.S. so when we have the chance, we always prove it.” he said.
On the field, a familiar face hit the grass as Montreal Impact defender Hassoun Camara was part of the starting lineup, much to the pleasure of the few Ultras fans who made their way to Saputo Stadium Wednesday night. Defender Mitchell Bringolf was the Frenchman’s partner in the centre of defense.
“It was nice to have someone of experience that knows his placement,” said Bringolf. “Even if it’s not his natural position but he still knows where to go and he gives you a lot of clues for the game.”
It did not take long for the Red Bulls to take possession of the ball and quickly put the Montrealers on their heels. The many incomplete passes on the bleu-blanc-noir’s part resulted in many Red Bull scoring chances.
Happily for the hosts, poor shots, and an amazing performance by goalkeeper Yann Fillion made sure that none of them resulted in a goal.
At halftime, not many gave a chance to the bleu-blanc-noir. It was rather a question of when FC Montreal would crack. The Montreal staff had other plans.
“We knew that if [the Red Bulls] were going to get forward and we knew that if we could get out of pressure and hit them on the counter attack we would be good,” said Simon Gatti, who coached his first professional game. Head coach Philippe Eullaffroy could not be there as he was in France partaking in a coaching clinic that will make him miss his team’s last two games.
The few fans that made their way to Olympic Park were treated to a shocking ending. In the 80th minute. FC Montreal’s Louis Béland-Goyette crossed the ball into the left side of the box to Riggi who opened the score, throwing cold water on the Red Bulls. The young winger quickly turned around and went to celebrate with Gatti who was on his way to his first win as a professional coach.
“It’s his first game as a head coach and he told us “do everything so I win my first game”,” said Riggi. “I went straight to him because he had confidence in me and he knew I’d do the job when I get my chance so I was extremely grateful.”
The nightmare ending continued for the Empire State squad when goalkeeper Yann Fillion kicked off a ball to striker Charles Joly who managed to hold possession and escape. From the right side, he
crossed the ball to Riggi, who scored his second of the night.
With the game in the bag, Gatti was humbled by the situation.
“This is why we stay in football, this is why I’ve been in football my whole life, this is why I’m with the club that I love.”
With this victory, the postseason landscape in the USL’s Eastern Conference remains the same. Thanks to Montreal’s win, Louisville City FC clinched second place, meaning a bye for them during the first round of the playoffs.
As for New York, the Red Bulls remain in third having not yet clinched a postseason spot. FC Montreal will play its last game of the season on Wednesday September 16 where they will host the Harrisburg City Islanders.