MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact is now first in its group in CONCACAF Champions League play with three wins after a 1-0 shutout victory over the New York Red Bulls at Stade Saputo Wednesday night. With his goal, Di Vaio has now scored three straight game-winners, in all three of his team’s group stage victories.
“A couple of more goals would have made it a little less stressful on the bench, but it wasn’t an easy game,” said head coach Frank Klopas. “New York played a good game and was very organized. I think we got into a little bit of trouble about 25 minutes in when we started forcing the ball. We had a couple of chances to make it 2-0, but we lost our rhythm by forcing the ball in the middle. At the end of the day, we still got a clean sheet and it’s an important win for us. We’ll take it, because this is our third win for us right now.”
IMFC came out of the gates with the wind behind its sails, bombarding the Red Bulls crease in the game’s early minutes, but the closest the home side came to scoring was a low bullet from outside the box by Ignacio Piatti that crashed the short side post.
The bleu-blanc-noir broke the deadlock in the 16th minute when Piatti found Di Vaio in the 18-yard-box with a seeing-eye ball over the Red Bulls backline from 40 yards out. With one touch, the Italian striker brought the ball down before firing a low shot short side that beat RBNY keeper Ryan Meara.
Evan Bush, who earned his fourth shutout in four career Champions League games played at home, came up with two huge saves to conserve the win. The first came in the 33rd minute when defender Richard Eckersley got on the end of a free-kick floated into the box, but his back-header was pushed up over the bar. Then in the 40th minute, a low, long-distance drive by Eric Stevenson was rolling far post, but Bush dove low to his left to knock the ball out of bounds.
Despite a pretty quiet second half, IMFC came close to finding its second goal with two minutes remaining, after the Red Bull’s Connor Lade was shown a second yellow and ejected from the game a few minutes prior. A give-and-go between Andres Romero and Dilly Duka sprung the Argentine alone in the box, but his attempt went just inches wide.
“We`re having mixed emotions right now since we would have like to score more goals and take advantage of the red card,” explained Jeremy Gagnon-Laparé, who made his second straight start and earned praise from his head coach. “Especially playing at home, it would have been good to get a second or even a third goal. We still managed to get a win, so I’m happy, but now we have to focus on keeping our lead and winning in New York.”
The Impact is now in top spot in its group, with nine points (three wins in three games); while the Red Bulls, who have only one win in two games (three points), have to travel to El Salvador to play their third fixture against C.D. FAS, playing its final matchup in CCL, who have three losses in as many matches played.
The Impact will then take on the Red Bulls for all the marbles at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday, October 22, but will be without the services of forward Marco Di Vaio, who was shown his second yellow in group play, resulting in an automatic one-game suspension.
In the meantime, the Impact returns to MLS regular season action as it hosts the San Jose Earthquakes this Saturday, at Stade Saputo, at 7:30pm EDT, to play its fifth game in 15 days.
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Eric Miller, Heath Pearce, Matteo Ferrari, Hassoun Camara; M-Calum Mallace, Jeremy Gagnon-Laparé, Andrés Romero, Dilly Duka (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 90+1’), Ignacio Piatti (Wandrille Lefèvre 81’); F-Marco Di Vaio (Jack McInerney 82’)
Subs not used: GK-Troy Perkins; D-Futty Danso, Karl W. Ouimette; M-Louis Béland-Goyette
NY – GK-Ryan Meara; D-Kosuke Kimura, Damien Perrinelle, Armando, Richard Eckersley; M-Connor Lade, Ian Christianson, Marius Obekop, Ruben Bover (Dax McCarty 82’), Eric Stevenson; F-Saer Sene (Eric Alexander 79’)
Subs not used: GK-Santiago Castano; D-Ibrahim Sekagya, Roy Miller, Chris Duvall, Matt Miazga
MTL – Di Vaio (Piatti) 16’
NY – Perrinelle 21’
MTL – Ferrari 26’
MTL – Romero 69’
NY – Lade 70’
MTL – Di Vaio 74’
NY – Lade (second yellow) 76’