Montreal Impact v Columbus Crew

Major League Soccer

Saturday 9th April 2016

Kick off 16.00 Actual 16.18

Montreal Impact 2 Columbus Crew 0,  attendance 22,053

48′ 1-0 H. Camara

86′ 2-0 K. Bekker

@ Stade Olympique de Montreal

4545,  Avenue Pierre-De-Coubertin

Montreal, QC H1V 3N7

Admission  $29 + $8 fees, print at home ticket.

No programme.

Quebec weather is too severe for early season home games in MLS, so Montreal Impact move their first couple of matches from their Saputo Stadium, just a few hundred yards away, to the much bigger Stade Olympique, which has one distinct advantage, it has a roof. This guarantees the game will go ahead, but as the pitch here is synthetic, it also means that star striker Didier Drogba will not be playing as his knees cannot take the pounding on these pitches compared to the much more forgiving natural grass. When I exited the airport on Friday evening to catch my hotel shuttle bus, it was snowing very lightly and was already down to minus 4 degrees, and it was only 8pm !

The Stade Olympique was opened in 1976, and as the name suggests, hosted the Summer Olympics of that year. It has a capacity of 66,308, some three times that of Saputo Stadium. Access to the stadium is easy if arriving on the subway as you enter directly from the station without going outside, which helps when the temperature was minus 9 degrees later that evening.

The first difference I notice here, is unlike in U.S.A., the fans actually watch the match, rather than go to eat and drink for the whole ninety minutes. So much better and means you can actually enjoy the match without constant interruptions of people filing in and out of their seats. Surely a visit to their local restaurant would be a better way of spending their time if the actual sport is of no interest to them ?

Great atmosphere, despite only being a third full, and pleasantly warm as well. Impact were always in control, but never totally comfortable until the second goal killed it off.

The match ticket also included admission for the F.C. Montreal match in the USL, but I didn’t fancy hanging around until 7.30pm for that one to start. I also had an option of ice hockey at Montreal Canadiens in the NHL, but despite being doable by subway, the starting price of $166 for tickets, even on the resale websites, put me off.