MONTREAL—Just moments away from seeing another game tacked onto their six-game winless streak, the Montreal Impact broke through for their first win of the season at Stade Saputo on a powerful free kick by star striker Didier Drogba.
Drogba drove a shot through the hands of LA Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe in stoppage time to give Montreal a 3-2 win Saturday, its first in four games at Saputo Stadium, and first in seven games overall since a 2-1 win at the Chicago Fire on April 16.
"It was a good one for the confidence of the group," Drogba said. "For the players, I think it's going to be something important."
To the delight of the capacity crowd of 20,801, Drogba tore off his shirt while he ran around after scoring his fifth goal of the season, with his teammates snaking behind him before he made his way to the fans behind the Galaxy goal.
"I just wanted to hit the target and hit the ball well, and that's what I did," Drogba said. "And I was lucky enough that the goalkeeper didn't keep it."
The Impact, who won their first two home games at Olympic Stadium, had four ties and two losses during their skid.
"I know we had a lot of ties, but it came at the last minute, it was great," said Impact head coach Mauro Biello. "I think it's great for the team, for the morale, for the confidence. My dressing room was very vibrant after the game and that's important. It's important for us to continue to build and grow as a team, and this was a big win for us."
Rookie Kyle Fisher made his MLS debut on a Montreal back four that was missing 2015 MLS Defender of the Year Laurent Ciman (Belgium) and Ambroise Oyongo (Cameroon), who were called on to play for their respective national teams.
Fisher was drafted 14th overall by the Impact in the first round of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft.
"I thought he was excellent," Biello said. "I think he closed down, was sharp, he didn't get beat 1-v-1, he was alert, he was tucked in, he did a good job, and for me, for someone to come in, it's not easy, you're playing against a good team and to play his first game out of position speaks a lot about this young man."
The game got off to a rough start for the Impact when defender Maxim Tissot and goalkeeper Evan Bush got mixed up playing a ball in the box. The misplay led directly to an unassisted goal by Giovani dos Santos that gave the Galaxy a 1-0 lead eight minutes in.
"I think the resolution was if he feels like he can't get out of the way, even if I call 'Keeper!', then he needs to just play safe and head the ball. And if that upsets me because I'm not getting the ball, at least the ball is in a safe area because he headed it out of the box,” Bush said. “It's just one of those things where when we have so many guys coming in and out of the lineup, communication and the understanding of what's been communicated gets a little wishy-washy."