MONTREAL – Is Marco Di Vaio back to his best?
The Montreal Impact forward put an end to his six-game dry spell in the most brilliant of fashions, dispatching two goals with finesse to provide his team with a 2-1 win against D.C. United.
Di Vaio hadn't scored since July 3, when he completed Montreal's comeback in a 3-3 tie at BMO Field against Toronto FC. He later missed a 0-0 draw against FC Dallas as he had to travel back to Italy to address a family issue.
Di Vaio arguably looked his best in a long time against D.C. United on Saturday night.
“We can't forget that, even though he's still very well physically, he's 37,” Impact head coach Marco Schallibaum said after the game. He had these few weeks and games with a family issue that was tough to manage. I'm happy for him, because he worked hard to get back to where he was. We're not machines with buttons that you can press so we run for 90, 95 minutes and always do well.”
Justin Mapp, whose crash into a television camera on the sidelines after a foul by James Riley led to both head coaches getting expelled with the score still at 1-0, conceded that the incident translated into a “pretty wild” ending, and rightfully so. Conor Doyle's 81st-minute equalizer sent shivers down the home fans' spines, but it only fired up Di Vaio, who replied with his second two minutes later.
“Marco came up big for us in the end,” Mapp told reporters. “We were a little lethargic in the second half, but he's a big-time player. He scores big goals for us and we needed it once again tonight.”
When a visibly relieved Di Vaio was asked if he had preferred his 43rd-minute opener, assisted by Mapp – Di Vaio's first at Stade Saputo since a June 19 encounter against the Houston Dynamo – or his game-winner, there was no hesitation.
“The second," Di Vaio said. “I got it wrong twice, once in the first half when I couldn't score after five minutes. It could have changed the game, we would have suffered less. And then in the second half, I couldn't calm the team down by scoring the 2-0 goal. I got it wrong, so in the end, I'm really happy to have scored the second, because we needed those three points for our confidence, for our minds and for the standings.”