ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – The Montreal Impact defeated D.C. United by a 4-1 scoreline in its second preseason game at Rowdies Suncoast Invitational, held at Al Lang Stadium, in St. Petersburg. Forward Dominic Oduro scored a brace for the winners.
“We played well,” said Impact head coach Mauro Biello. “We saw, offensively, this organization and our ability to unbalance the opponent. We were good in possession and we created diamond shapes around the ball. Harry Shipp and Dominic Oduro played very well today.”
Oduro opened the scoring in the 5th minute. After the Ghanaian linked up with defender Donny Toia on the right side, newcomer Harry Shipp received the ball and crossed for Oduro, who lifted the ball over goalkeeper Travis Worra and into the net.
“It was hot, but we found a way to keep the ball,” said Oduro. “By doing that, we were able to find some openings and create some chances. We’re still progressing. Harry, I already knew him. He was able to find me a couple of times, and that was really good. We’re just trying to get to know each other right now, but today was good step.”
In the 18th minute, midfielder Michael Salazar doubled the Impact's lead. From the edge of the penalty area, Shipp once more found Oduro in the box. The United 'keeper did just enough to stop Oduro's stiff right-footed strike, but the ball fell for Salazar who slid to tap it home.
“We’ve only had a couple of practices,” but it’s been really good so far, added Harry Ship. “The intelligence of the guys makes it easy for me, just slotting in there and having the confidence of the coaching staff. It’s been easy. They’ve been telling me to go out there and do what I do best. It’s comfortable for me, being in the middle. Having Marco [Donadel] behind me calms everything down. We like to play soccer, keep the ball on the ground, and for me to find those pockets to feed guys through like you saw today with Dominic.”
Oduro scored his second in the 31st minute, on a fine individual play. Picking up a loose ball in midfield, courtesy of teammate Eric Alexander, Oduro got past two defenders on his way to goal before beating the goalkeeper to his left.
Forward Alvaro Saborio got one back in the 36th minute, beating Impact 'keeper Evan Bush to his left.
Williams added the Impact’s fourth in the 86th minute, on a Kyle Bekker through ball on the right side. Williams managed to beat the onrushing ‘keeper with one touch on the ball, pushing it over him and into the net.
Bush made a fine save in the 24th minute, when he dived to his right to stop midfielder Rob Vincent's strike from 30 meters out.
Salazar nearly completed his brace in the 28th minute, but Worra made another last-second stop on this header from a Marco Donadel cross from the left.
The two teams played the second half using the CONCACAF ball, helping D.C. United get ready for its CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal matchup against Querétaro F.C., on February 23.
The Impact will play a third game in the tournament on Wednesday, February 24, at 4pm ET, against Toronto FC. Its last game in Florida is scheduled for Saturday, February 27, at 7pm ET, against Tampa Bay.
In the first game, on Wednesday night, the Bleu-blanc-noir put up a great fight against NYCFC, who fielded many first-team regulars for an hour or more, but ultimately lost by a score of 1-0.
The Montreal Impact plays its 2016 home opener on Saturday, March 12, at 4pm ET (TVA Sports) at the Olympic Stadium against reigning regular season champions New York Red Bulls. On the previous Sunday, March 6, Montreal plays Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place, at 5:30pm ET (RDS, TSN).
MTL – G-Evan Bush; D-Ambroise Oyongo (Louis Béland-Goyette**, 86’), Laurent Ciman (Wandrille Lefèvre 67’), Victor Cabrera (Kyle Fisher 75’), Donny Toia (Maxim Tissot 67’); M-Marco Donadel (Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé 75’), Eric Alexander (Kyle Bekker 67’), Harry Shipp (Eric Verso* 75’), Johan Venegas (Romario Williams 75’), Michael Salazar* (Cameron Porter 75’); F-Dominic Oduro (Calum Mallace 67’)
*2016 MLS SuperDraft pick
**FC Montreal player
D.C.– G-Travis Worra (Andrew Dykstra 46’); D-Luke Mishu (Paul Torres 46’, Taylor Kemp 70’), Jalen Robinson (Steve Birnbaum 70’), Markus Halsti (Konstantine Kolokotronis 46’, Bobby Boswell 70’), Academy (Sean Franklin 70’); M- Rob Vincent (Lamar Neagle 35’), Collin Martin (Chris Rolfe 70’), Paul Clowes (Jared Jeffrey 46’, Nick DeLeon 70’), Miguel Aguilar (Marcelo 70’); F- Julian Büscher (Patrick Nyarko 70’), Alvaro Saborio (Andrea Mancini 46’, Luciano Acosta 70’)
MTL – Oduro (Shipp) 5’
MTL – Salazar 18’
MTL – Oduro 31’
D.C. – Saborio 36’
MTL – Williams (Bekker) 86’