Scorer of four goals – three as a starter – in 823 minutes as a rookie, Wenger tallied only once in 853 minutes in 2013 while Di Vaio made a run for the Budweiser Golden Boot.
It may have been a losing effort, but it took Wenger only one game in 2014 to match his 2013 production. His brilliant header against FC Dallas last Saturday not only gave the Impact hope on the scoreboard, it gave Montreal fans hope that Wenger could one day lead the line by himself.
“What he did was just focus on his strength, and his hold up play was excellent,” head coach Frank Klopas told the media on Saturday night. “He got in the box, he was very dangerous and he scored a fantastic goal. I mean, just the cross from Felipe and his movement in the box. I was happy for him, but regardless, I think the effort was there.”
The effort was there, as was the end product. In 2012 – before Di Vaio joined – moving to the 4-2-3-1 set the Impact free and immediately showcased the best of what Wenger could provide. Montreal scored some gorgeous team goals against Colorado and Seattle, notably.
On Saturday night, after reprising his old role in that formation, Wenger sounded particularly happy with how he brought his teammates into the play in Di Vaio’s absence.
“Marco is a fantastic player, a huge portion of our offense,” Wenger told reporters. “A lot of different guys stepped up tonight, helped create opportunities, and if we can continue that through the entirety of the season, we’ll be lethal.”
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Asked about his confidence and the possibility that he may embark on a scoring spree, Wenger replied that he’d have more to say the following weekend. The remark was followed by a laugh, but Wenger is serious when it comes to consistency this season.
He’ll likely get an opportunity to chase that objective this Saturday in Houston.
“It’s always good to score a goal because during a season you always want to put wins together and that’s what puts you into the playoffs,” Wenger said. “For a goal scorer, a forward, putting goals together in consecutive games, that’s how a nice season starts.”