July 24th, 2024

CF Montreal blows two-goal lead, draws New York Red Bulls 2-2

By Daniel Rainbird, The Canadian Press on June 19, 2024.

CF Montreal forward Kwadwo Opoku (7) scores against the New York Red Bulls as Red Bulls defender Noah Eile (3) looks on during first half MLS soccer action in Montreal, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL – Julian Hall scored the first Major League Soccer goal of his career as New York Red Bulls erased a two-goal deficit to draw CF Montreal 2-2 on Wednesday night.

The 16-year-old Hall headed the ball into the back of the net in the 88th minute after Wikelman Carmona scored earlier in the second half for New York (8-5-6), which dominated the shots attempts 24 to 10.

Sunusi Ibrahim and Kwadwo Opoku scored in the first half to help Montreal (4-8-6) build the lead. Despite giving it up, Montreal remains unbeaten in its last five games (1-0-4).

With Montreal leading 2-1 in the 80th minute, Matias Coccaro nearly drew a penalty that could have put the game out of reach after goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois found him with a long ball over the defence. Coccaro drove into the box before Noah Elie knocked him down but the officials didn’t whistle for a foul, provoking loud jeers from the home fans.

The non-call came back to haunt Montreal as Hall knocked home the equalizer eight minutes later.

Raheem Edwards, back from a knee injury sustained earlier this month, provided the assist on Opoku’s goal in front of an announced 19,619 fans on a humid, 31 C night at Saputo Stadium.

Former league MVP Josef Martinez (knee) also returned for his first match since the home opener on April 13th as Montreal’s roster continues to return to health.

The Red Bulls entered the game third in the Eastern Conference, 12 points ahead of Montreal, but fell short of a win for a third straight outing with some key players absent.

Top scorer Lewis Morgan is representing Scotland at the European Championship and starting goalkeeper Carlos Coronel will play for Paraguay at the Copa America. Swedish star Emil Forsberg missed his third straight game with a foot injury.

For Montreal, midfielders Mathieu Choiniere (Canada) and Samuel Piette (Canada), defender Joel Waterman (Canada) and winger Ariel Lassiter (Costa Rica) were on international duty at the Copa America, which begins Thursday when Canada meets Argentina in Atlanta.

Ibrahim opened the scoring in the 11th minute, finishing a pinball sequence of headers.

Edwards played a free kick into the box that connected with Gabriele Corbo and Joaquin Sosa in succession. New York’s Daniel Edelman blocked Sosa’s header from the goal line before Ibrahim knocked the ball in for his team-leading sixth goal of the season.

Ibrahim, a 21-year-old Nigerian, has five goals in his last seven games.

Opoku, who recently returned from a lengthy ankle injury, broke out with a beautiful goal in the 40th minute to make it 2-0 before halftime.

After Edwards played a long ball to find him in space, Opoku danced around Red Bulls defender John Tolkin and slotted a clean finish past goalkeeper Ryan Meara at the near post.

The first half featured many disconnected passes from both teams. New York put five shots on goal with a late push in the opening half, but failed to put Sirois in serious danger.

That changed in the second half as the high-pressing Red Bulls began wreaking havoc in Montreal’s half.

In the 59th minute, Red Bulls defender Sean Nealis headed the ball over Sirois from a crowd of players at the centre of the box, only for Ibrahim to fly in and save a goal.

New York got on the board two minutes later when Carmona gathered a loose ball in the box and buried a shot into the top left corner.


Montreal: Visits Colorado Rapids on Saturday.

New York: Hosts Toronto FC on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2024.

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