MONTREAL – Oh, a Designated Player delivered for Montreal, all right. But it wasn’t Ignacio Piatti.
DP forward Marco Di Vaio broke a scoreless deadlock late on Saturday night at Stade Saputo to give the Montreal Impact their fourth win of the season, 1-0 against the Chicago Fire.
Montreal (4-14-5, 17 pts) stay bottom of the East, but they finally snapped a seven-game losing streak that dated back to June. Chicago (4-6-13, 25 pts) remain in ninth place, having scored one goal or fewer for the ninth straight MLS game.
Di Vaio came through in the 84th minute, after Maxim Tissot's smart pass found rookie left back Eric Miller on a rare foray forward. The ball bounced for Di Vaio at the top of the box. Calm as ever, the veteran striker put a clinical finish past Sean Johnson into the far inside netting.
An uneventful first half saw both teams fail to put a single shot on target. Chicago prevented the Impact from building from the back, denying them space to reach Montreal’s front four of Dilly Duka – playing against his former team for the first time since being traded on July 29 – Justin Mapp, Piatti and Di Vaio.
The story for Montreal going into this game was the debut of Piatti, their new DP. He was replaced by Andres Romero in the 53rd minute, likely to save him for this Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League date away at FAS in El Salvador (10 pm ET, Univision Deportes). While he did not set Stade Saputo alight just yet, Piatti did enjoy a couple of promising moments with Di Vaio.
Romero’s introduction livened up the game for the hosts. Romero provided pace and penetration and forced Johnson into a fine save down to his right in the 60th minute after Felipe released him behind the Chicago defense.
Sanna Nyassi, who Montreal sent to Chicago for Duka, entered the game as a sub in the 68th minute for Harry Shipp. Nyassi drew gasps from the crowd in the 80th minute as he broke through on the left, but Hassoun Camara recovered well to stop him. This proved vital, as Di Vaio scored the three points for Montreal four minutes later.
Both teams are on the road next Saturday, August 23. Chicago play in Canada again, this time at Toronto FC, while Montreal travel to New York to face the Red Bulls.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Marco Di Vaio||The old man's still got it. Created danger all evening and finished his best chance with gusto.|
|2||Justin Mapp||Continues to be his team's most consistent source of invention and dynamism. But perhaps will Piatti help?|
The Fire's talented rookie didn't have his best night but was still clever and entertaining in promising glimpses.