MONTREAL – In a game in which the Montreal Impact completely dominated the San Jose Earthquakes in the first half, it took a couple of goals in the final 10 minutes of the game to seal a 2-0 victory at Stade Saputo on Saturday night. Jack McInerney and Dilly Duka scored late to secure the shutout win.
“I thought the guys gave everything, all the way to the end,” said head coach Frank Klopas. “We lost a little bit of the momentum in the second half, but I think we got it back, even though a lot of the player’s on our team have a lot of minutes played. There are still moments where we lose focus and concentration, but our ability now to move and create chances is very good. Everyone contributed to the game on the field tonight and I enjoyed watching everyone play as a team.”
The first half played out as though the field was tilted towards the Quakes goal, with the home team outshooting the visitors 11-3, the highest margin ever for IMFC after 45 minutes. Seven of those shots came from the Argentine duo of Ignacio Piatti (4) and Andrés Romero (3).
Opportunities for the bleu-blanc-noir subsided in the second half, but the home team still found a few good looks at goal, most notably off of a beautiful through ball from Jeremy Gagnon-Laparé in the 46th minute that found a charging McInerney, whose left-footed attempt went wide.
The Impact would finally break the ice when Jack Mac made good on his next opportunity in the 81st minute. Marco Di Vaio, who came on in the 57th minute for Ignacio Piatti, slowed up by tendonitis in his knee, cut towards the box from the left flank and curled a low shot far post from 20 yards out. Goalkeeper Jon Busch could only punch it out, onto the path of McInerney, who drove his body towards the rebound and knocked the ball past the goal line with his knee.
“It’s definitely been a while since I scored and having games go by without scoring is frustrating,” said McInerney. “It was a relief for me and for the team today to finally get one in.”
Six minutes later, Di Vaio back-heeled the ball towards Duka inside the box. The American youth international dangled and shifted with the ball to beat his defender and sent a low curler far post that secured the victory in a game that IMFC dominated in the offensive zone, outshooting San Jose 19-8 overall and improving the team’s record to 5-0-1 in its last six games across all competitions at Stade Saputo.
“We played well tonight and created a lot of opportunities,” said Di Vaio. “It was harder for us in the second half because we’ve had a lot of games lately and have been travelling around. It was hard, but we played well, controlled the game and we deserved to win.”
Ignacio Piatti, who had another good game for his new team, came really close on two of his five occasions, both in the first half. The first developed from a creative build up that started when he chipped the oncoming defender to play Duka through. Duka switched it to McInerney down the right flank and then drove a low cross opposite side of goal. With one touch, Piatti brought the ball down before firing a left-footer from in close that was stopped by Jon Busch in the game’s opening minutes.
The Quakes keeper then robbed the Impact DP with an incredible save in the 38th minute. Piatti went high far post with a shot that was dipping under the crossbar before Busch soared backwards to push it up and over.
The Impact will play its next game this Saturday against the Crew in Columbus at 7:30pm EDT (TVA Sports, TSN Radio 690).
MTL – G-Troy Perkins; D-Eric Miller, Heath Pearce, Wandrille Lefèvre, Jeremy Gagnon-Laparé; M-Calum Mallace, Felipe, Andrés Romero (Issey Nakajima-Farran 69’), Dilly Duka, Ignacio Piatti (Marco Di Vaio 57’); F-Jack McInerney (Gorka Larrea 90’)
Subs not used: GK-Evan Bush; D-Futty Danso, Karl W. Ouimette; M-Louis Béland-Goyette
SJ – GK-Jon Busch; D-Pablo Pintos (Tommy Thompson 84’), Victor Bernardez, Jason Hernandez (Ty Harden 45’), Jordan Stewart; M-Cordell Cato, J.J. Koval, Sam Cronin, Shea Salinas (Matias Perez Garcia 78’); F-Atibas Harris, Chris Wondolowski
Subs not used: GK-Bryan Meredith; D-Shaun Francis; M-Khari Stephenson, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi
MTL – McInerney 81’
MTL – Duka (Di Vaio) 88’