The Montreal Impact simply had to respond.
Both Sporting Kansas City and New York Red Bulls flaunted their scoring boots this weekend, putting a combined seven goals past their opponents on their way to an Eastern Conference-leading 45 points, past the Impact.
The timing of the Red Bulls game allowed the Impact to watch in the lead-up to their meeting with the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium, and while assistant coach Mauro Biello says the team didn’t need the locker room TV to motivate them, the staff got what they sought: Montreal grabbed a rare away win by a score of 4-2 and maintained the three-way tie atop the East.
“We already know that the other teams got results, and we’re telling ourselves that our destiny’s in our own hands,” Biello told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the game. “We have to grab points on the road and at home, and if we keep doing that, we'll be in a good position.”
Montreal found themselves in a decent position early, when Revs goalkeeper Matt Reis was ejected for denying Marco Di Vaio a goalscoring opportunity. But playing against 10 men can get tricky, warned Biello, and the Impact followed their game plan.
While Biello thought the ball movement out of the back had been good in last Saturday’s 0-0 draw in Philadelphia, the Montreal full backs struggled going forward once they’d bypassed the first wave of pressure. Solutions were needed, and found, as evidenced by right back Hassoun Camara’s two assists.
“We did well going from point A to point B, but not so well from point B to point C,” Biello said of the Philadelphia game. “But tonight, ball circulation was good, we were patient, and when the ball reached our full backs, especially Hassoun, Marco was able to find space and we reached him between their full back and the center backs.”
Determining whether or not the Impact have found a winning formula on the road is a delicate prospect given how long they played with a man advantage, but they probably hadn’t felt as comfortable away from Stade Saputo in a while.
Montreal had yet to score four goals away from home in MLS, and they managed that against a Revs team that had conceded two at most this season at home. Di Vaio hadn’t scored on the road in two months. He made up for it with two on Sunday.
“When he scores and plays well, we’re a tough team to beat,” Biello said.