Home MLS Montreal Impact No Di Vaio, no problem: Impact shuts out the Union

No Di Vaio, no problem: Impact shuts out the Union

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The Montreal Impact climbed into sixth place in the MLS East table Saturday evening, jumping over Columbus, who lost tonight, and stretching its lead over New England and tonight’s opposition, the Philadelphia Union, to seven points with a 2-0 victory in front of 18,535 fans at Stade Saputo.

“They came in here to sit back, keep the game tight and catch us on the counter,” said head coach Jesse Marsch. “They did a good job (in the first half). We have to be a little bit more patient and at the same time raise the tempo of the game once we have the ball. The goal at the end of the half is big because it changes the game and they have to come out a little bit more.

“We would have loved to put the game away earlier,“ he continued. “ But in the end I thought that we defended well in some moments in the second half and kept them off the scoreboard. It’s always good to get a shutout.”

Putting his ideal defensive unit for virtually the first time this season, Marsch started a backfield of Hassoun Camara, Alessadro Nesta, Nelson Rivas and Matteo Ferrari. The four played an almost hermetically sealed match, keeping the visiting side from repeating their victory of July 14.

Andrew Wenger, playing up top in place of Marco Di Vaio, presently in Italy facing questions in that country’s most recent game-fixing scandal, gave the Impact a one-goal lead moments before the interval. The Lancaster, Pa., native headed Patrice Bernier pass into the bottom left corner of Zac MacMath’s goal, finishing a play that began with a 44th minute corner kick taken by Justin Mapp.

“You have to have a little patience because you know it’s going to come slowly,” he offered. “It’s just a matter of having patience and waiting for that one opportunity. A couple opportunities came and I finally took one. We came out with the win, that’s all that’s important.”

While the home side held sway in terms of ball possession and shots toward the enemy goal the Union had the higher-quality opportunities with the first coming in the early going. Five minutes after kick-off forwards, Lionard Pajoy and Jack McInerney combined to test Donovan Ricketts with the Impact keeper smothering McInerney’s attempt.

In the 21st minute a Carlos Valdes pass offered Pajoy a second Philadelphia try. The Costa Rican forward’s shot beat Ricketts and hit the far post before being carried out of harm’s way.

With the half-hour mark rapidly approaching, Montreal defender Camara was called for hauling down Pajoy. The resulting free kick was headed goalward by McInerney but Ricketts alertly countered the attempt.

A Brian Carroll foul on Mapp gave Montreal a kick at the can in the 32nd minute. Mapp found Patrice Bernier just outside the penalty area. The Montreal midfielder flicked the ball to captain Davy Arnaud, starting as a forward tonight, but his header went wide.

In the 60th, Mapp spun around Philly defender, Amobi Okugo, and made the pass to Felipe but the young Brazilian’s shot was handled by MacMath.

Tempers started to fray in the heat of the game. In the 67th minute Philly forward Antoine Hoppeneot pulled a move on Impact defender Rivas more often associated with judo, flipping the Columbian backliner over his hip.

Rivas, less than pleased with the manouevre, came back at Hoppeneot and, in a manner reminiscent of former French star Zidane, retaliated with a head-butt. The two were ejected and at least one of them will probably be subject to league discipline.

Asked for his comment of the altercation Marsch demurred, saying that he did not get a clear view of the incident and adding, “They said it was a head butt and I don’t know how much contact there was.”

Montreal put the match out of reach in the 78th minute, courtesy of a play instigated by Camara. The defender dispossessed an opponent and instantly sent the ball towards the goal. Felipe met it with boots up and body horizontal, about a metre off the ground, driving it home and as a result being named Player of the Game for the second straight match.

Donovan Ricketts sent the crowd’s heart rate spiking upward, making his one miscue in the 83rd. Fumbling his attempt to handle a Carroll shot, the tall Jamaican needed the intervention of a teammate to clear the ball off the goal line.

“It’s good that we were able to put to in a row together at home. Now we have to solve the equation about how to go on the road and get results,” said Marsch to close his remarks. “It’s a big test for us next weekend in New England. We’ve got some momentum and we have to now not have hiccups. We have to have consistency so we can make a really good push at the end of the year.”

THROW-INS – Both Montreal and Philadelphia are on a run of black or white results. The Impact’s last tie game came on May 12 when it hosted Los Angeles while the Union’s last draw came a week later against Dallas.

• The Impact U21 team spent last week in France, playing facing reserve sides from Auxerre (1-1), Troyes (1-1) and Reims(2-1). The Impact and Union meet in Reserve League action tomorrow morning at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex, the Montreal side’s main training facility.
There was a strong Union presence at the AT&T All-Star Game that saw the MLS defeat Chelsea 3-2 on Wednesday in Philadelphia with the host club represented by defender Carlos Valdes, midfielder Michael Farfan and interim manager John Hackworth, who served as an assistant coach.

• Good things happen for Montreal when Sanna Nyassi and Justin Mapp are in the starting lineup for home games. The Impact’s record is 5-1-1 with Nyassi in the starting XI and an even better 7-1-2 when Mapp begins the match on the pitch. The team sports an 8-3-2 home record this season.

• Former Union midfielder Justin Mapp is still well thought of by Philadelphia fans. A delegation of Sons (and Daughters) of Ben applauded his pre-game introduction and rewarded his first touch with a round of applause.


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