CHESTER, Pennsylvania - Under cold, wet and rainy conditions in Philadelphia, a late goal by striker Marco Di Vaio led the Montreal Impact to a 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon, at PPL Park, earning its first point of the season.
The game’s opening goal came in the 35th minute for the home side when forward Jack McInerney played a through ball for midfielder Vincent Nogueira. The Frenchmen placed the ball right underneath the ball from the top of the box as Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins came sliding out to challenge.
Despite being a man down following an ejection to Andrew Wenger in the 75th minute, the Impact found an equalizer six minutes later. Midfielder Justin Mapp played a long ball down the left flank for Marco Di Vaio. Playing his first game back from suspension, the Italian striker cut to the middle and curled one top corner, far post, for his first of the season.
"It was a game that we played well again," said Impact head coach Frank Klopas. "We had some good moments and the way we came back to fight after being a man down showed a lot of character. It's a positive thing to build on."
"We can take some good things away from today's game," said Di Vaio. "We played against a good team and I am happy that I was able to score an important goal for us with a man down. After they scored, we fought to make sure they wouldn't get a second and it kept us in the game."
"It's a big point for us. We had to come out with something," added Patrice Bernier. "The first half was a little difficult, but we came out in the second half we created more chances, especially in the first few minutes. It's a great point to take after getting that red card, but we still have to look at ourselves as things are not exactly right 11 vs. 11."
The Union found the game’s first good scoring chance in the 27th minute, when midfielder Cristian Maidana curled a left-footed free-kick from 30 yards out, but Perkins shoved a hand in the air and punched the ball out of harm’s way.
Di Vaio found two chances early in the second half when Mapp played a cross into the box, but the Italian’s header went just wide in the 49th minute. A low cross from the opposite flank fell to Di Vaio one minute later, but the DP slid on the wet field and couldn’t get all on his shot.
Perkins came up big again in the 61st minute when a long distance blast by Maurice Edu was heading for the top corner short side.
Midfielder Andres Romero made his first appearance of the season, starting the game after serving a three-game ban, while defender Karl W. Ouimette came on as a late sub, his first appearance in 2014 as well.
The Impact returns to Montreal to host the New York Red Bulls this Saturday, April 5, at 4pm EDT, at Olympic Stadium.
2014 Season tickets
2014 season tickets are still available in six categories, with prices ranging from $339, $443, $546, $667, $885 and $1,230 (taxes included), as well as in the Saputo Family Corner at $224 (kids) and $443 (adults). Memberships for Premium Seats are all sold out and only two suites remain for individual game purchases. Reserve your seat for the 2014 season by contacting our sales services at 514-328-3668.
MTL – GK-Troy Perkins; D-Heath Pearce, Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Eric Miller; M-Hernan Bernardello, Collen Warner (Patrice Bernier 74’), Justin Mapp, Felipe (Karl W. Ouimette 87’), Andrés Romero (Andrew Wenger 60’); F-Marco Di Vaio
Subs not used: GK-Evan Bush; D-Jeb Brovsky; M-Blake Smith; F-Santiago Gonzalez
PHI– GK-Zac MacMath; D-Fabinho, Amobi Okugo, Aaron Wheeler, Raymon Gaddis; M-Brian Carroll, Maurice Edu, Sébastien Le Toux (Antoine Hoppenot 82’), Cristian Maidana (Leo Fernandes 57’), Vincent Nogueira; F-Jack McInerney (Conor Casey 71’)
Subs not used: GK-Andre Blake; D-Ethan White; M-Corben Bone, Michael Lahoud
PHI – Nogueira (McInerney, Carroll) 35’
MTL – Di Vaio (Mapp) 80’
MTL – Camara 26’
PHI – Fabinho 48’
MTL – Wenger 76’