Ola Kamara pounced for a first-half brace and continued to prove himself one of the best signings of the MLS Secondary Transfer Window, helping D.C. United to a crucial 3-0 victory over the Montreal Impact on Saturday night at Stade Saputo.
Kamara now has three goals in three appearances since returning from the Chinese Super League to MLS at the close of the secondary window. The brace marked the 50th and 51st goals of his MLS career.
Paul Arriola also scored before halftime as D.C. halted a three-match losing streak despite missing Wayne Rooney to suspension, and moved back above the New York Red Bulls into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Coming into the match, the Black-and-Red faced the possibility of dropping beneath the East playoff line with a defeat.
After a midweek victory over Vancouver to move into the playoff places, Montreal slipped back beneath the playoff line into eighth place in the East with Toronto FC's 1-1 draw at the New England Revolution, also on Saturday. The Impact outshot United 25-7, but only forced D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid into four saves.
- THE BIG PICTURE: D.C.'s last two victories have now come without both Rooney and Luciano Acosta in manager Ben Olsen's starting XI. While the latter appears to be out of favor, it seems likely Olsen will eventually require the Argentine's talents if a deep postseason run is in the cards. Meanwhile, new Montreal boss Wilmer Cabrera is probably second-guessing his decision to make zero lineup changes between Wednesday's victory and Saturday's defeat.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Desperate for a strong start, Kamara provided just that with his opportunistic opener following a free kick that deflected off Montreal's defensive wall. It was D.C.'s earliest goal since Rooney scored in 10th minute against Orlando City on June 26th, on a sensational effort from his own half.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Ola Kamara, with honorable mention to Russell Canouse at right back. The Norwegian international wasn't dominant necessarily, but he was clinical for a side that needed it. Even with Rooney eligible for D.C.'s next match in Portland, it feels like Olsen will have to find Kamara a spot on the field.