MONTREAL -- If at first you don't succeed, try again. Blerim Dzemaili is an example of the good that can come from that.
Denied what would have been his first MLS goal by an offside call in the first half, Dzemaili fought on and opened his account in the league in the 67th minute. That gave the Montreal Impact a 1-0 home win against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night.
The Swiss international midfielder netted in his third MLS game, and days after scoring his first Impact goal in the club's 4-2 win against the Vancouver Whitecaps in a Canadian Championship semifinals game on Wednesday. Also celebrating a selection to play for Switzerland in World Cup Qualifiers, he emphasized the value of the victory against New York, with Montreal facing their next three games on the road.
"That was important to us because we have only played 11 games, and we have two or three games less than the others in front," Dzemaili said. "But when you're [struggling], it's not easy to go up, even if you have two or three games left. But today was very important to win a game, and winning a game that you don't play very well gives you a lot of confidence because you know then when you play well you can do a lot better."
Dzemaili acknowledged that his adjustment to MLS so far has been a two-way street, as he has had to adapt to his new league while his teammates have had to adapt to him and his skill set.
Nonetheless, Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush is impressed with how quickly Dzemaili has adjust to his new surroundings.
"I think that it's a learning process for anybody that comes into the league," Bush said. "He was still good in moments in those first couple of games, but now that he's fighting through those tackles and understanding how the league works a little bit better, he's become even more effective.
"I thought today he was fantastic, and he probably doesn't get that goal three weeks ago because he probably doesn't fight through tackles, and then doesn't continue his run into that situation. So he's adapted very quickly, and we knew he would, and he's been fantastic."
Impact coach Mauro Biello noted that Dzemaili is fitting in nicely in the midfield and forming a good combination with Ignacio Piatti, who Dzemaili played a great 1-2 with to score Saturday's decisive tally.
"He's a quality player and he's only getting started," Biello said. "There's a lot of good things coming once he understands the league more and his teammates. He's going to help this team tremendously."