MONTREAL – After coming from two goals behind to win their last two games, D.C. United put themselves into no such trouble on Saturday night.
United jumped to a quick lead and held on to it as they defeated the Montreal Impact by a 1-0 scoreline at Stade Saputo. Chris Rolfe scored the only goal in the 13th minute with his team’s only shot over 90 minutes. In the process they became the first team in MLS history to win a game despite taking just one shot, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Montreal center back Victor Cabrera stumbled on an ill-advised Marco Donadel back pass, leaving Jairo Arrieta to run at Wandrille Lefevre with Rolfe to his left. Lefevre went to ground to stop Arrieta, who slid to hook the ball into Rolfe’s path. Rolfe ran through and slotted the ball home to the right of goalkeeper Evan Bush.
With the win, the Eastern Conference leaders (13-7-5, 44 pts) extend their lead over second-place New York Red Bulls – who take on New York City FC on Sunday – to 11 points. Montreal (8-9-4, 28 pts) miss a chance to jump to third in the East and remain sixth.
United were rewarded for their pressing with the goal, but otherwise the visitors weren’t too adventurous. Montreal enjoyed a significant advantage in terms of possession (67.8 to 32.2 percent) and shots (25 to 1, a league-high shot differential since 2010) but couldn’t find a breakthrough.
DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid, making a return after four games on the sidelines due to left hand and right knee surgeries, showed no rust as he stopped each of Montreal’s eight shots on target.
The Impact upped the ante in the second half. Head coach Frank Klopas made offensive substitutions, bringing on attacking midfielder Dilly Duka and forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel. But United held on as Montreal's shots were off target or Hamid came up strong against the likes of Dominic Oduro and Johan Venegas as new star striker Didier Drogba watched from the stands.
United are back in action this coming Thursday when they take on New York City FC at Yankee Stadium (7 pm ET, MLS LIVE). Montreal’s next MLS fixture is on Saturday, August 22, when they host Philadelphia Union (8 pm ET). In the meantime, they will face the Vancouver Whitecaps in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship final on Wednesday at Stade Saputo (7:30 pm ET, Sportsnet World in Canada and MLS LIVE in USA).