MONTREAL, Quebec – The Montreal Impact earned its fourth consecutive home victory at Stade Saputo, Wednesday night, topping the Houston Dynamo 2-0 on goals by Marco Di Vaio and Felipe. With the win, the Impact is now first overall in the MLS standings with 29 points and is now four points clear of the New York Red Bulls for first place in the Eastern Conference.
The Impact opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Patrice Bernier chipped a long pass over the Houston defence, finding fellow mid Felipe making a run through the middle. Jumping to bring the ball down, the Brazilian took one touch before putting a low shot to the right of Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall for his second of the season. Bernier’s 4th game-winning assist on the play is tops in the league.
Designated Player Marco Di Vaio put the Impact up by two with his 10th of the season in the 32nd minute. A poor back pass by Houston’s Corey Ashe put the ball deep down the left flank. Di Vaio ran onto the ball and cut towards goal on a three-on-one. As the keeper came out to challenge the shot, he chipped Hall from about eight yards out, left of goal. The Italian striker established a new club record in MLS for most goals in a season and added to his consecutive home scoring streak with one in each of his team’s seven home matches, and is now tied for the league lead in goals scored.
Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins earned his 4th shutout of the season. With the win, Perkins now 65 career victories in MLS and is now tied for 10th all-time in the league. He most notably made a huge stop in the 82nd minute off of a Giles Barnes’ blast from 30 yards out, diving to his right to push the ball out of bounds.
The Impact remains undefeated at home with a 6-0-1 record and is first in the east with 24 goals scored overall.
“I knew before the game that we were going to rebound from that last performance against Columbus,” said Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum. “We played really well. It was amazing to see this team, especially in the first half, we played really nice soccer. I’m with the team for six months now and I know the team has the skill and will to play well.”
“After a difficult game, it was important to come out and play the way we know we can,” said Marco Di Vaio. “We all believe in each other and even if they had scored on the penalty, we felt we’d be able to come back and score at home.”
“We played a very solid game defensively,” added Hassoun Camara. “Having guys like Alessandro Nesta and Matteo Ferrari, and even Jeb Brovsky, provides a lot of consistency and faith in our back line. We know that we can defend the lead when we get one.”
The Impact found the first scoring chance of the game early in the 4th minute. A through ball by midfielder Felipe down the left flank was run onto by forward Daniele Paponi, who cut in towards goal. Starting his first game since returning from injury, the Italian striker went for goal from a sharp angle, but the shot was stopped by the Dynamo keeper.
In the 13th minute a short chip towards the right corner by Hassoun Camara found Sanna Nyassi, who rejoined the team from national team duty, but the Gambian’s shot from a tough angle was pushed out short side.
Di Vaio found a loose ball centre to goal about 25 yards out in the 20th minute. He spun around and fired a bullet going low side to the keeper’s right, but Hall made a spectacular diving save to keep it out.
A slide tackle by Matteo Ferrari in the 21st minute led to a penalty kick for the Dynamo. English midfielder Giles Barnes stepped up to the spot, but his shot sailed high over the crossbar.
In the 24th minute, defender Jeb Brovksy played a long through ball to Felipe who, with his back towards goal, touched a short flic pass between the legs to Di Vaio, but the Italian’s low strike from distance was pushed away by Hall.
A cross in the box in the 54th minute by Andrea Pisanu found Di Vaio far post. A one-timer by the Impact’s DP was pushed out, then bounced off of Sanna Nyassi and just sailed wide of the right post.
In the 62nd minute, a cross towards the top of the box by Nyassi from deep down the right flank found Di Vaio, but his powerful header from distance rang off the cross bar.
The Impact will play its next game at home on Saturday, June 29 against the Colorado Rapids at 7pm (ET).
Meanwhile, the Impact U21 team will play an international friendly at Stade Saputo this Saturday, June 22, at 7:30pm, against the Haitian national team.
MTL – GK-Troy Perkins; D-Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta, Jeb Brovsky; M- Andrea Pisanu (Andrés Romero 65’), Patrice Bernier, Felipe, Sanna Nyassi; F-Daniele Paponi (Andrew Wenger 73’), Marco Di Vaio (Collen Warner 88’)
Substitutes not used: GK-Evan Bush; D-Dennis Iapichino; M-Wandrille Lefèvre, Blake Smith
HOU – GK-Tally Hall; D-Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe; M-Andrew Driver, Warren Creavalle (Brian Ching 78’), Adam Moffat (Omar Cummings 69’), Ricardo Clark (Luiz Camargo 87’); F-Will Bruin, Giles Barnes
Substitutes not used: GK-Tyler Deric; D-Eric Brunner, Mike Chabala; F-Cam Weaver
MTL – Felipe (Bernier) 14’
MTL – Di Vaio 32’
MTL – Ferrari 20’
HOU – Sarkodie 53’
MTL – Camara 56’