MONTREAL – As the intensity of the rain slowly increased at Stade Saputo, so did the attacking pressure by the Montreal Impact, resulting in a late game-winning goal by Marco Di Vaio that secured a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Saturday night.
“It feels good,” said head coach Frank Klopas. “It took us a while to feel like this. There`s a lot of games that we could have walked away with points, but you need to move forward. Today was a good overall performance by the group. The subs we made gave us a lot of added energy at the right time.”
Following a first half with relatively few scoring chances, the Impact pressed in the second frame and found that elusive winner when Di Vaio scored his 30th career goal in MLS in the 84th minute. Substitute Maxim Tissot played Eric Miller in behind the Fire backline then Miller poked the ball back towards Di Vaio at the top of the box, where the Italian striker fired a low left-footed one-timer far post.
Aside from the winner, Di Vaio also seemed to find some chemistry with newcomer Ignacio Piatti, who made his long-awaited IMFC debut.
“We tried to find each other and make a couple of combinations,” said Di Vaio. “It’s not easy for him because he’s arriving in a team that has a lot of confidence issues. This win will help us and I think that with his arrival here, it might help the team’s confidence even more.”
“For my first game, I think that I played well enough and that the team had a solid performance. We played well together,” said Piatti. “I knew about MLS beforehand, knew the style of play so there was no surprise for me, but I still will have to adapt my style of play.”
Goalkeeper Evan Bush earned his first career win and shutout in MLS. Although not that busy over the 90 minutes, he made a difficult stop off-balance on good shot from inside the box by Lovel Palmer in the first frame and a stoppage time save off of Logan Pause to preserve the victory.
“Those are the things that happen at the end of the game when you’re up a goal,” said Bush in regards to that final save. “They sent a lot of guys forward on set pieces and I got knocked down. I didn’t hear a whistle and he got a foot on it, but I was there to take care of it.”
Midfielder Dilly Duka made his first start for the bleu-blanc-noir and went the full 90 minutes against his former team.
The Impact has a midweek clash with C.D. FAS in the return game of the CONCACAF Champions League Wednesday night at 10pm EDT (TVA Sports, Sportsnet) in El Salvador before heading to New Jersey to take on the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, at Red Bull Arena in MLS play at 7pm (TSN, RDS, TSN690).
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Eric Miller, Wandrille Lefèvre, Matteo Ferrari, Hassoun Camara; M-Gorka Larrea, Patrice Bernier (Felipe 45’), Ignacio Piatti (Andrés Romero 54’), Dilly Duka, Justin Mapp (Maxim Tissot 74’); F-Marco Di Vaio
Subs not used: GK-Troy Perkins; D-Karl W. Ouimette; F-Jack McInerney, Anthony Jackson-Hamel
CHI– GK-Sean Johnson; D-Lovel Palmer, Jhon Kennedy Hustado, Patrick Ianni, Greg Cochrane; M-Jeff Larentowicz, Matt Watson, Razvan Cocis, Harry Shipp (Sanna Nyassi 68’); F-Alex (Quincy Amarikwa 61’), Mike Magee (Grant Ward 86’)
Subs not used: GK-Kyle Reynish; D-Bakary Soumare; M-Benji Joya, Logan Pause
MTL – Di Vaio 84’
CHI – Ianni 24’
MTL – Larrea 70’