MONTREAL – Eight games into his MLS career, Marco Di Vaio has gotten the monkey off his back.
The Italian striker opened his acount with the first of the Montreal Impact's three goals in a 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd of 19,441 at Stade Saputo.
Montreal scored two quick goals at the start of the second half, including Di Vaio’s first and Davy Arnaud’s fourth, before Thierry Henry pushed his 2012 total to 11 goals in the 57th minute. Sanna Nyassi added the insurance tally in the 75th minute.
HIGHLIGHTS: MTL 3, NY 1
New York squandered a chance to extend their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference table, while Montreal are now within four points of the playoff field. Alessandro Nesta made his MLS debut for the Impact, starting alongside Nelson Rivas in central defense.
Both teams could have gone up a goal in a scoreless first half, as glorious chances were missed at both ends. The Red Bulls almost capitalized on the Impact’s weaknesses on set pieces in the 12th minute when goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts fumbled a Thierry Henry free kick, but Markus Holgersson put too much on the rebound and powered it in the stands.
Ricketts redeemed himself in the 33rd, however, when he made an impressive reflex save on Kenny Cooper.
The Impact’s strategy, for the most part, was about beating New York’s offside trap. They released Justin Mapp or Marco Di Vaio into space behind right back Jan Gunnar Solli on more than one occasion, and Mapp was particularly frustrated when Bill Gaudette denied him on a one-on-one opportunity in the 21st minute with a kick save.
The Red Bulls came out for the second half intent on finding an opener, with Cooper sending a chance high over Ricketts’ net, but they were caught right away by the Impact's three-minute flurry. It was Mapp, in the 48th minute, who passed first-time to an unmarked Di Vaio on the left.
The Impact's Designated Player put a low finish past Gaudette, who was beaten again two minutes later when Felipe – for his second of three assists on the night – sent Davy Arnaud through behind the New York backline. The Red Bulls ‘keeper did get a hand to the Impact skipper’s shot, but it ultimately found the back of the net.
In a bid to save their unbeaten record when leaving for half time with a tie score, New York pushed forward immediately and were eventually rewarded. With numbers in the box, Ricketts miscalculated his approach towards Henry, whose cute finish delighted the Red Bulls supporters in attendance.
A scuffle in the 69th seemed to fire the Impact up, and Nyassi put the icing on the cake by rounding Gaudette for his fifth career goal against New York in the 75th.
The Red Bulls will travel again next week as they face the Houston Dynamo on Aug. 3 at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Impact will enjoy one more day’s rest before welcoming the Philadelphia Union at Stade Saputo on Aug. 4.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Felipe||After a few fruitless matches, the Brazilian was at his best, assisting on two of Montreal's goals.|
|2||Marco Di Vaio||Finally, Di Vaio put his name on the scoresheet. Montreal will hope more goals are coming.|
|3||Alessandro Nesta||He wasn't flying around a la Aurelien Collin, but he doesn't need to in order to be effective.|