MONTREAL – A brace by striker Marco Di Vaio lifted the Impact to a 2-1 victory over D.C. United on Saturday night, in front of a sellout crowd of 20,801 spectators at Stade Saputo.
With the win, the Impact jumps into third spot in the Eastern Conference with 38 points from 23 games, one point behind first place Sporting Kansas City with one game in hand.
The Impact scored the game opener in the 43rd minute when Justin Mapp, running down the right flank, used a step over to beat defender James Riley. The midfielder then played a low ball through the box towards Felipe, who dummied the ball through his legs as Marco Di Vaio was posted near the penalty spot. The Impact’s Designated Player went short post with his one-timer, hitting the top corner with a well-placed curler.
Conor Doyle tied things up for D.C. United in the 81st minute. Midfielder Perry Kitchen played a deep ball for Luis Silva, who was posted near the half-circle. He played the ball to Doyle inside the box, who used a first-timed shot to beat Impact keeper Troy Perkins, going opposite side with the inside of his left foot.
The Impact took the lead back two minutes later on Di Vaio’s second of the game and 13th of the season. Patrice Bernier played a ball over the DCU defensive line as the Italian striker took one touch and cut inside towards goal before firing the ball under the crossbar far post. Di Vaio earned his 3rd game-winning marker of the season, while Bernier found his 5th game-winning assist.
“In the first half we were dangerous, but managed just the one goal,” said Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum. “Thankfully, Marco hit his second goal of the night in the second. Overall, I thought we had a really good game. We put a lot of pressure from the wings with Justin Mapp and Andres Romero. We played well defensively, as it’s not an easy game against D.C. United. They are a very smart team.”
“When D.C. United scored the goal to tie it, I was sad,” said Marco Di Vaio. “I missed a couple of chances, one in the first half and another in the second. Either one of those goals would have made it 2-0 for us. We could have breathed a little easier. But thankfully, I was lucky in the end to get one and help the team get the three points and was good for our confidence.”
“I thought we had several chances in the first half to get a second goal,” said Impact midfielder Justin Mapp. “But Marco [Di Vaio] came up big for us in the end. We were a little lethargic in the second half and he’s a big time player who did it again for us tonight.”
The Impact found a couple of chances early on in the first half. Di Vaio played a low ball into space down the right flank that found midfielder Felipe on the run in the 3rd minute. The Brazilian played a low cross that curled around the defence, finding Andres Romero in the box, but the Argentine ran out space and his shot from in tight on the goalkeeper was stopped.
A minute later, Di Vaio chipped a DCU defender inside the box with a lateral ball, finding Felipe, who took a touch to get past the charging goalkeeper. Felipe then chipped Hamid in turn, but the ball was cleared away by a United defender.
A free-kick in the 48th minute for D.C. United by De Rosario forced Perkins into a save, diving to his right to catch the attempted shot around the wall.
In the 64th minute, D.C. United’s Luisa Silva fired one from 22 yards out, but his left-footer was stopped as Perkins made an adjustment to pounce on the ball that was going towards the short post.
Both head coaches were sent off following an altercation in the 75th minute that resulted from a challenge that saw Justin Mapp fall into a sideline TV camera, after a James Riley challenge in the air.
The Impact will travel to Guatemala Monday to take on CD Heredia on Wednesday, at 10pm (ET) in CONCACAF Champions League play. The game will be broadcast live on TVA Sports and Sportsnet.
The team will return to Stade Saputo to host the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, August 24, at 7pm (ET).
MTL – GK-Troy Perkins; D-Jeb Brovsky, Alessandro Nesta, Matteo Ferrari, Hassoun Camara; M-Hernán Bernardello (Collen Warner 72’), Patrice Bernier, Andrés Romero, Felipe (Sanna Nyassi 82’), Justin Mapp, F-Marco Di Vaio (Daniele Paponi 89’)
Subs not used: GK-Evan Bush; D-Maxim Tissot; M-Davy Arnaud, Blake Smith
D.C. – GK-Bill Hamid; D-Chris Korb, Daniel Woolard, Dejan Jakovic, James Riley (Dennis Iapichino 89’); M-Kyle Porter (Conor Doyle 71’), Nick DeLeon, John Thorrington, Perry Kitchen; F-Luis Silva (Lewis Neal 83’), Dwayne De Rosario
Subs not used: GK-Joe Willis; D-Ethan White; M-Jared Jeffrey, Collin Martin
MTL – Di Vaio (Mapp) 43‘
D.C. – Doyle (Silva, Kitchen) 81‘
MTL – Di Vaio (Bernier) 83‘
D.C. – De Rosario 39’
MTL – Romero 47’
D.C. – Thorrington 71’
D.C. – Riley 75’
MTL – Di Vaio 84’
MTL – Bernier 90+’