The Montreal Impact gave the Saputo Stadium crowd of 12,568 what it wanted — a 1-0 victory and a look at the New York Red Bulls star players.
Ali Gerba scored in the 37th minute as the Impact won the friendly match against the mostly listless-looking Red Bulls in a friendly match against one of Major League Soccer's marquee clubs on Wednesday night. The Impact are playing a final North American Soccer League season before joining MLS in 2012.
"We wanted to show people we can play and compete with the best," said Gerba after the loosely played match in which both clubs went on attack.
Former French international striker Thierry Henry, Mexican star defender Rafael Marquez and former Toronto FC midfielder Dwayne De Rosario were all in the starting lineup for New York, but all three came out as, by agreement between the clubs, both clubs substituted most of their players at the intermission.
The crowd seemed to like it, but as tests go, the Impact probably had a better look at the MLS in its two recent Nutrilite Canadian Championship matches against Vancouver — losing the first at home 1-0, then tying the Whitecaps but losing the two-game aggregate series on an overtime goal in Vancouver.
Those games had intensity, but Henry said the team had little energy left for a friendly after an emotional 1-1 draw Saturday against the Galaxy in Los Angeles.