SPORTS

Piatti, Jack-Mac score, but Kaka shines as Impact play Orlando to 2-2 MLS draw

03/28/2015 06:06 EDT | Updated 05/28/2015 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - There were positive signs from the Montreal Impact in their MLS home opener on Saturday, but mostly there was disappointment in a 2-2 draw with Orlando City.

Ignacio Piatti and Jack McInerney got the team's first two goals in three league games this season.

They gave the 25,245 at Olympic Stadium a show with goals in the opening 27 minutes and a handful of chances in the second half.

And McInerney made a statement with his strong play after a miserable start to the campaign.

But the Impact also wasted their lead during a two-minute letdown late in the first half that deprived them of a victory.

"We let our guard down," said McInerney. "It's 2-0 against an expansion team at home: the biggest thing at that point is to keep a clean sheet.

"We controlled the game. When you let your guard down with a player like Kaka on the field, you're going to have problems. He changed the game."

Kaka, the former AC Milan and Real Madrid star, and Brazilian compatriot Pedro Ribeiro each set the other up for a goal in the 29th and 30th minute to give Orlando City (1-1-2) a well earned point. It was Kaka's second of the campaign.

"Ricky (Kaka) did some great stuff today," said Orlando coach Adrian Heath. "I thought he put great service into the box from set pieces as well.

"And Pedro, if that was a grass field, he'd have covered every blade of it. He put an incredible shift in."

Both sides were missing players to injuries and national team call-ups. Orlando was without so many that it only dressed 15 players, three below the norm.

McInerney got the start only because Cameron Porter, the rookie who stole the forward spot with a superb training camp and strong play in league and CONCACAFplay, blew out a knee in a 0-0 draw last week at New England.

Jack-Mac responded with a solid game.

After Piatti opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 14th minute after a hand ball in the area, Bakary Soumare sent a long ball over the middle to McInerney.

It was played to the side by Orlando's Seb Hines, but McInerney won a race for the ball and lobbed it over onrushing goalie Donovan Ricketts.

"Piatti stepped into the hole and created space for me," said McInerney. "Baky plays those balls in practice. I kept making the run and got onto it.

"I've been training well and working hard and finally it paid off for me."

He had another chance in the second half, but Ricketts got a hand on his bicycle kick from inside the box.

In a pair of lighting strikes, Kaka fed Ribeiro for a goal from close range, then Ribeiro returned the favour by sliding a pass to Kaka on a rush for a shot that Eric Kronberg only got a piece of as it sailed into the top left corner to knot the score.

"We gifted two goals," said Nigel Reo-Coker.

After his goal, Piatti lifted his shirt to show the message "I love you grandfather" in Spanish on his T-shirt, and was shown the yellow card for excessive celebration. Piatti missed last week's game to return to Argentina after his grandfather's death.

Montreal was missing two players to national team duty, including Maxim Tissot with Canada and Laurent Ciman with Belgium.

Orlando internationals missing were Canadian Cyle Larin as well as Brek Shea, Conor Dononvan, Rafael Ramos, Kevin Molino and Darwin Ceren.

Notes — Kronberg saw his first action with starting goalie Evan Bush nursing a minor quad injury. . . Impact fullback Hassoun Camara served a one-game suspension.

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