MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact put on an entertaining and efficient display, this Saturday night at Stade Saputo. In front of the sixth sellout crowd of the season at Stade Saputo, the Bleu-blanc-noir defeated second-placed Philadelphia Union by a 5-1 scoreline.
Didier Drogba scored a hat-trick, while Nacho Piatti dazzled the Stade Saputo faithful with a goal and two assists. Ambroise Oyongo also contributed to two goals, and Matteo Mancosu opened his MLS account. The Union replied through Chris Pontius.
“This was a complete performance,” said Impact head coach Mauro Biello. “Our players’ qualities provided a great spectacle tonight. We managed the game well, showing patience early on. Then, our qualities came out. Scoring five goals and dominating the game like that is very satisfying.”
Impact’s attack overwhelms
An enthusiastic Montreal team found a reward 19 minutes in. A fine combination down the left between Oyongo and Piatti ended up with the latter backheeling the ball into Oyongo’s path, in behind the defence. The Impact left back crossed low at the far post, out of reach for Union centre back Richie Marquez, and Drogba tapped the ball home with his right foot.
Drogba was back at it in the 42nd minute. Team captain Patrice Bernier intercepted a soft Keegan Rosenberry pass into central midfield, sending Piatti through against Marquez. Goalkeeper Andre Blake made the save on Piatti’s first attempt, but Drogba took care of the rebound for his second.
The brace became a hat-trick in the 52nd minute. After turning away from Rosenberry, Piatti released Drogba down the middle. Drogba was not missing that one, and he beat Blake with a low shot to his right. With his second MLS hat-trick in the bag, Drogba finished his night’s work with the 20,801 fans giving him a standing ovation as he came off in the 79th minute.
“This was a special night,” said Didier Drogba. “Our key players came out strong at the right time. The shape of the team was great, and we played well going forward with the ball. We’re here to win games, and also to please our crowd.”
The Union made it 3-1 in the 72nd minute. Fabian Herbers played the ball wide to Walter Restrepo, who crossed at the far post. Pontius got his head to the ball, which flew into the side netting.
After playing the assist-man, Piatti put his scoring boots on in the 87th minute. Piatti first sprayed the ball wide to Oyongo, who had pushed up on the left. Oyongo crossed it back to Piatti into the penalty area. After a fine touch with his right, Piatti finished with his left, scoring his 25th MLS goal in his 50th game – and he also got a well-deserved standing ovation two minutes later. Oyongo, for his part, notched his fifth assist of the season, the highest total by an Impact defender in a single MLS season.
The Bleu-blanc-noir finished the job in second-half stoppage-time. On a transition kickstarted by Oyongo and Harry Shipp, Patrice Bernier ran down the middle with the ball and released Matteo Mancosu in the centre-right channel. The Italian beat Blake to his left for his first MLS goal.
“This was a performance that matched our quality,” said team captain Patrice Bernier. “Our leaders had to rise, and they did. We played a great game. We needed a defining performance, where we showed the required heart and energy for a win.”
The Impact returns on the road next weekend, playing D.C. United at RFK Stadium on Sunday, July 31, at 6:30pm EDT (TVA Sports, 98,5fm & TSN Radio 690). The next MLS game at Stade Saputo will be played on Saturday, August 6, against the Houston Dynamo (TVA Sports, 98,5fm & TSN Radio 690). Excellent individual tickets are still available for this game on impactmontreal.com.
The Impact will also play an international friendly against A.S Roma on Wednesday, August 3, at 7:30pm at Stade Saputo (TVA Sports, 98,5fm & TSN Radio 690). Members (season ticket holders) already have their tickets for this match, identified as the “Game to be determined”. Excellent tickets for this great event are also still available.
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Ambroise Oyongo, Hassoun Camara, Víctor Cabrera, Donny Toia; M-Patrice Bernier, Calum Mallace (Marco Donadel 68’), Ignacio Piatti (Lucas Ontivero 89’), Harry Shipp, Michael Salazar; F-Didier Drogba (Matteo Mancosu 79’)
Subs not used – GK-Eric Kronberg; D-Amadou Dia; M-Kyle Bekker; F-Dominic Oduro
PHI – GK-Andre Blake; D-Raymon Gaddis, Richie Marquez, Joshua Yaro, Keegan Rosenberry; M-Sébastien Le Toux (Walter Restrepo 57’), Tranquillo Barnetta, Roland Alberg (Fabian Herbers 57’), Brian Carroll; F-Chris Pontius, C.J. Sapong (Leo Fernandes 78’)
Subs not used – GK-John McCarthy; D-Fabinho, Ken Tribbett; M-Warren Creavalle
MTL – Drogba (Oyongo, Piatti) 19’
MTL – Drogba 42’
MTL – Drogba (Piatti) 52’
PHI – Pontius (Restrepo, Herbers) 72’
MTL – Piatti (Oyongo) 87’
MTL – Mancosu (Bernier) 90’+1’
MTL – Salazar 26’
PHI – Barnetta 27’
MTL – Mallace 50’
PHI – Gaddis 76’
MTL – Bernier 83’