Blerim Dzemaili scored on a 25-yard cracker in the 21st minute and then set up Chris Duvall's second career MLS goal with a deft chip two minutes later, helping the Montreal Impact to a 2-0 victory over D.C. United on Saturday evening at Stade Saputo.
Evan Bush made only two saves -- and was helped once from a kind goalpost -- to preserve only Montreal's third clean sheet of the season and help the Impact move three points above last-place United in the Eastern Conference standings.
Two of those defensive shutouts have come against D.C., which failed to score for the 12th time this campaign, this time after travel delays caused the Black-and-Red to arrive in Montreal hours before kickoff.
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- NO PIATTI, NO PROBLEM: After a dispiriting Canadian Championship defeat to Toronto FC, the Impact were facing a near-must-win encounter without enigmatic playmaker Ignacio Piatti, who left in the 80th minute of Tuesday’s CC second leg with an adductor injury. The Argentine’s absence may have forced Dzemaili into a more authoritative role, though. The result was a consistently dangerous Impact side with Dzemaili pulling the strings, especially in the first half before Montreal took a sensible counterattacking posture later on. Not to mention a stunning goal.
- FINISH LIKE A FORWARD: Duvall had never scored for the Impact, but he took his chance like some of the best strikers in the game. After finding Dzemaili in midfield, Duvall ran down the left to reach Dzemaili’s return diagonal ball over the top, then guided in a first-time, left-footed sliding finish inside the far post. It was his first goal since June 28 of 2015, when he struck for the New York Red Bulls in their 3-1 derby win at New York City FC.
Couldn't be prouder to get my 2nd career goal and first goal in the blue, black and white! Great 3pts #IMFC— Chris Duvall (@chrisduvall91) July 2, 2017
- ACOSTA ALONE: Ideally a playmaker who sits behind a dangerous striker, D.C.’s scoring woes appear to have Luciano Acosta going in search of the net more on his own. The Argentine has four league goals, a third of D.C.'s league-worst season total of 12. And he nearly found another when he sliced through Montreal’s defense only to strike the woodwork in the 79th minute. He also set up Jose Guillermo Ortiz for a very late header at Bush, and perhaps deserved more for his efforts even if his team continued to underwhelm.