MONTREAL – Seeing Marco Di Vaio score three goals is nothing exceptional, childhood friend Alessandro Nesta quipped after the Impact’s 5-3 win against the Philadelphia Union: he has done so countless times.
But Marco Di Vaio going into the book for a cake-eating celebration after his second, beautifully lobbed finish? That was something else, though Di Vaio had a simple ‘explanation’.
“The referee wanted some, and he saw that I was eating the cake by myself,” Di Vaio told reporters with a laugh.
While the giant cake was intended as a celebration of the Impact’s 20-year anniversary, the sugar rush soon took a backseat for a Di Vaio-induced one. Three goals in thirty minutes had the Montreal supporters on their feet chanting the Italian’s name, a rare sight in Impact history.
Although it ultimately took a Blake Smith stoppage time consolation marker to calm nerves around Stade Saputo, Di Vaio was the man of the moment.
“I’m happy, because it’s been a long time since I scored three,” Di Vaio said. “It’s good for me, for my head, for my confidence. But most of all, it’s important that I helped the team win.”
Yet even this three goal night that pulled him level with Jack McInerney in the Golden Boot race couldn’t get Di Vaio to admit that his heart was set on the individual award. His authoritative answer exposed not even the slightest hint of false modesty.
“I want that every goal I score help us win, bring points home,” Di Vaio said. “I hope we all march together to the playoffs, that’s a priority for us, for me, for the club and for the fans. We work every day for that.”
Montreal have certainly looked the part so far. With Saturday’s win, their points per game average is now the highest in MLS. They have been scoring nearly two goals per game under Marco Schällibaum. And for all their recent defensive lapses – they have conceded eight in their last four MLS outings, after all – they have managed to claw their way into decent positions during games. And that’s no piece of cake for a second-year team.
“We had this will to win, to play like kings in tough moments,” Schällibaum said. “These players want to run for each other and for the club.”