MONTREAL – There was plenty for the neutral to enjoy on Wednesday at Stade Saputo, as the Montreal Impact and D.C. United scored six goals between them in a frantic first half.
A Luis Silva hat trick was the difference, however, as D.C. picked up the three points and moved to the top of the Eastern Conference (7-4-4, 25 pts.) with a 4-2 win on Wednesday. Nick DeLeon scored the other D.C. goal.
Ben Olsen’s team took little time to get started. In the sixth minute, a quick combination in the middle between Chris Rolfe and Fabian Espindola released Silva behind the Montreal defense. Silva coolly finished low past Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins for his first of the season.
That sweet team goal was followed by two moments of individual brilliance in the 11th. A fantastic Hassoun Camara pass took most of his opponents out of the play and reached Jack McInerney. Left with little to no angle, McInerney beautifully placed the ball in the side netting at the far post for the equalizer.
Montreal took a short-lived lead in the 22nd minute. Starting on the left of United’s penalty area, Romero dribbled all the way to the other side. Sean Franklin then missed a tackle, which allowed Romero some space to unleash a shot that deflected in.
D.C. were level a minute later as DeLeon also scored his first of the season. Espindola placed a low cross from the left in DeLeon’s path. The run was timed perfectly, as DeLeon stabbed the ball in.
Espindola, not content with two assists and a yellow card – he was cautioned for a kick to Felipe in the 30th minute – picked up his third assist of the night in the 39th. The ball bounced off him in midfield and fell for Silva, who ran directly at the Impact center backs. Perkins got a hand to Silva’s shot from distance, but it still gave D.C. the lead.
Silva extended that lead in first half stoppage time. He blasted his third in on a penalty kick drawn by rookie defender Steve Birnbaum, grabbed by Camara in the box.
After an uneventful first 30 minutes post-halftime, Montreal thought they’d grabbed a lifeline as former Impact captain Davy Arnaud handled in the box. But Patrice Bernier missed a penalty for the first time in MLS, his attempt hitting the post and then goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra before trickling out for a corner.
Both teams get two weeks off league play; Montreal are next at Vancouver on June 25, while D.C. United host Seattle on June 28. United have a US Open Cup commitment beforehand, as they travel to Rochester on June 17.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Luis Silva||Can't argue with the top honor going to Silva after scoring a hat trick in 45 minutes, as he shows another glimpse of his considerable promise|
|2||Fabian Espindola||Will likely get some attention from MLS Disciplinary Committee this week, but Espindola showed once again that United's attack runs through him|
|3||Andres Romero||Scored a very impressive, if not aesthetically pleasing, solo goal. If only Montreal had more defensive resolve to help it stand up|