FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Montreal Impact returned to the top of the Eastern Conference table with a 4-2 victory at 10-man New England on Sunday night.
Patrice Bernier converted twice from the penalty spot and Marco Di Vaio supplied his MLS-leading 16th and 17th goals of the season to propel the Impact to victory. New England lost goalkeeper Matt Reis to a red card after five minutes after he fouled Di Vaio and procured a red card, but the Revs did draw level at one through Diego Fagundez and then snatch a late consolation through Kelyn Rowe.
Those efforts did not prevent Montreal from claiming all three points on this trip to Gillette Stadium and vaulting New York and Sporting Kansas City in the process. New England, meanwhile, rued its luck on an infuriating night after squandering an opportunity to leapfrog Philadelphia and push clear of pursuers Chicago and Houston in the furious race for the fourth and fifth playoff berths.
Di Vaio strayed offside twice in the first three minutes, but his next run a few minutes later turned the match in the Impact's favor. Di Vaio ghosted behind the Revolution line to latch onto Felipe's clever diagonal. He bundled the ball around Reis and forced the veteran goalkeeper to haul him down. Referee Sorin Stoica dismissed Reis for denying a goalscoring opportunity. Bernier then stepped up to coolly dispatch the penalty past substitute goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth to hand the Impact the lead inside the first 10 minutes.
New England responded well to the early numerical setback and pressed forward in search of the equalizer. Rowe prompted Troy Perkins to tip his effort from distance over the bar shortly after the opener as a signal of the Revs' intent. The ensuing bright period soon yielded the response required.
It came through a series of direct passes through the heart of the Montreal defense. Fagundez capped the move by playing Dimitry Imbongo through with a neat little pass. Jeb Brovsky recovered to tackle away from Imbongo, but his invention deflected straight into Fagundez's path. The 18-year-old striker tucked home his 10th goal of the season to draw his side level.
Montreal reclaimed the lead just after the half-hour mark after a second penalty award. Felipe tumbled under Jose Goncalves' challenge on the right side of the penalty area to prompt Stoica to point to the spot once more. Bernier assumed the duties and slotted home his second penalty of the night to restore the Impact lead.
Di Vaio then collected the killer third in first-half stoppage time with a wonderful piece of skill. The veteran Italian plunderer collected a Hassoun Camara diagonal with the outside of his right, jinked inside Revolution defender A.J. Soares and lashed home inside the near post to cap off a productive first half for the visitors.
The two men combined once again early in the second half to place the outcome beyond doubt. Camara hit his diagonal from near midfield this time, but Di Vaio corralled it anyways. Di Vaio then calmly eluded his defender and placed his 17th goal of the season inside the far post to consolidate the Impact's grip on the proceedings.
Rowe pulled a goal back for the Revs inside the final quarter of an hour with a sumptuous effort inside the far post, but his strike could not change the outcome on the night or prevent the Impact from returning to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Marco Di Vaio||Regained his position as the Golden Boot leader with his brace. Showed great skill with touches to free open his shots.|
|2||Hassoun Camara||The defender played two beautifully-lofted balls to Di Vaio resulting in two goals. Played a great two-way game.|
|3||Patrice Bernier||Capitalized on a pair of PKs to net a brace. Wreaked havoc in New England's defensive third.|