Saturday’s 5-0 drubbing of the Houston Dynamo at Stade Saputo, against one of the top teams in Major League Soccer over the past few seasons, was the type of signature performance the Impact had been looking.
A match where the home team dominated an opponent that had gone 4-1-1 in its last six games, played in the MLS Cup Finals in the last two seasons and who was creeping on the Impact’s heels in the Eastern Conference standings, helped solidify the Impact’s identity and return to the form that helped the team start the season in first place in the East over the first two months of the season.
The result, however, helped the Impact put a stamp on a few other firsts for the team.
1. It was the first time in MLS regular season play that the Impact won a game by a five goal margin. The Impact just broke out of an offensive funk.
2. Marco Di Vaio returned to the top of the scoring table in Major League Soccer as his two goals last Saturday vaulted him into first place with a total of 15 goals in 23 games played. Camilo, of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and Mike Magee, with the Chicago Fire, sit in second with 14 apiece.
3. The Impact is once again in first place in the Eastern Conference with 41 points from 24 games played. The team has a two-point lead on both Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls, and holds two games in hand on both clubs. With three games in hand on Real Salt Lake, sitting on 45 points, the Impact is still within reach of the Supporters Shield as the league best regular season team.
The Impact faces another important test as it travels to Philadelphia to take on the Union this Saturday, a team that is fourth in the East with 38 points. With SKC hosting Colorado (3rd in the West) and RBNY hosting D.C. United on Saturday, the standings can have a much different look come Sunday morning.
However, with Saturday’s performance under their belts, the Impact heads to the city of brotherly love high on confidence and momentum.