Jack McInerney-Marco Di Vaio duo connects for Montreal Impact, but not enough to fuel a victory

MONTREAL – Jack McInerney scored. Marco Di Vaio assisted. Montreal led. The new partnership was struggling, but it still looked like enough to lift the Impact to their first win of 2014.

But after an eventual 1-1 tie against the Chicago Fire, the Impact are still winless, and head coach Frank Klopas was somewhat at a loss to explain the drop in performance on this “disappointing” Saturday at the Olympic Stadium.

“I felt there was really not a lot of energy to the game, playing at home, pushing the game,” Klopas told reporters. “We seemed a little bit heavy-legged, tired. I really can’t explain it, because we had a good week of preparation and we came out to the game and I felt we were pretty flat.”

McInerney agreed, assessing that he “didn’t do well at all” in his first Montreal outing after a midweek trade from Philadelphia – other than his goal.

“Obviously, everyone here wants to win, but you’ve got to go out there and you know you’ve got to play hard and work for it,” McInerney said. “And we got crushed in the first half, and we were lucky really to be at 1-0 coming into halftime. We made some adjustments and still couldn’t lock them down.”

For the second half, Montreal’s new No. 99 shifted to a left wing position where he was largely deprived of the ball, but McInerney conceded that the Impact needed such an alteration. Chicago were winning the midfield battle.

“I thought he did well,” Klopas said when he was asked about McInerney’s move to the left. “The thing is I wanted to control the middle of the game a little bit more, bringing Patrice [Bernier] in there and pulling Jack out wide was almost like another striker wide, like a 4-3-3 that can come in between, because I felt there were big gaps with the center backs and their lines in the back.”

Di Vaio and McInerney fully exploited those gaps only once, and that was before the switch, during that suffocating first half. But Montreal will certainly cling on to that moment as they keep searching for that first win.

“For moments, they were good,” Klopas said of the duo. “But for sure, it’s going to get better as time goes on.”