MONTREAL – Marco Di Vaio's first MLS goals since July 3 were the difference on Saturday night as the Montreal Impact beat D.C. United 2-1 at Stade Saputo. The victory was the Impact's seventh in eight games when the Italian striker has scored at home; they tied the other.
United striker Conor Doyle thought he’d salvaged a point for United in the 81st minute, but Di Vaio completed his brace minutes later to lift Montreal to 38 points. They will at the very least remain fourth in the Eastern Conference until next weekend’s slate of games. United stay bottom of the East with 13 points.
Montreal went all out with quick attacks in the early stages. They created chances in the first, third and fifth minute, widening the play well on the first two buildups and then forcing Daniel Woolard to make a headed clearance on the line.
But D.C. settled into the game well, often pushing the ball in Montreal’s territory through fullback Chris Korb. Dwayne De Rosario was a constant threat midway through the half with four attempts in a 15-minute span, coming closest to giving his side the lead in the 37th minute as he chipped a chance created by Kyle Porter over Troy Perkins’ net.
But Montreal took the lead six minutes later. Their wingers once again took the ball wide, with Justin Mapp on the right beating James Riley and crossing low to the penalty spot. Felipe's dummy fooled United’s center backs and Di Vaio took advantage, curling a right-footed strike into the top corner of Bill Hamid’s net.
United picked up where they left off after the break, with Korb feeding Luis Silva directly into the box for a first-time strike saved by Perkins. The Impact goalkeeper once again frustrated Silva in the 64th minute, but could do nothing as Conor Doyle pounced on a Silva through ball on the outside left and beat Perkins at the far post.
But Di Vaio was not to be denied a chance to give his side the three points. Patrice Bernier fed the striker on the right of United’s penalty area, and Di Vaio beat Dejan Jakovic before, once again, curling a beauty past a powerless Hamid on 83 minutes.
Tensions rose in the 75th minute when James Riley seemed to push Justin Mapp into a TV camera as the duo leaped to meet a Montreal goal kick. Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum took exception and had a heated exchange with his opposite number Ben Olsen. Referee Ismail Elfath sent both off, after Riley was duly booked.
Both teams are back in action at home next Saturday, August 24, when D.C. welcome Toronto FC while Montreal host the Houston Dynamo. CONCACAF Champions League action awaits the Impact in Guatemala first, however, as they face CD Heredia this Wednesday, August 21.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Marco Di Vaio (MTL)||The veteran missed a few good looks but his persistence paid off with a well-taken brace.|
|2||Felipe (MTL)||The Brazilian was hard-working and creative. His dummy on the opener was simply brilliant.|
|3||Justin Mapp (MTL)||His wing play was excellent, not only going forward but also in terms of tracking back defensively.|