Di Vaio's late goal lifts Impact 1-0 over Fire to end 7-game losing streak
Saturday, Aug 16, 2014 08:15 pm
MONTREAL - The seven-game losing streak was over for the Montreal Impact and no one looked more relieved than Marco Di Vaio.
The 38-year-old striker's goal in the 84th minute was the difference as the Impact downed the Chicago Fire 1-0 on a wet Saturday night at Saputo Stadium that saw a promising debut by new Argentine designated player Ignacio Piatti.
It was Montreal's first victory since a 3-0 decision at home over Houston on June 29. Italian striker Di Vaio had a goal in that game as well.
"It's been a long time that we won a game with my goal, so I'm really happy for me, for the team, the coach and the fans because we needed it," said Di Vaio. "It's a good win and it will give us more confidence."
The Impact (4-14-5) remained 10th and last in the MLS Eastern Conference behind the ninth-place Fire (4-6-13). But the team got its fifth shutout of the season, after allowing 15 goals during the losing run.
"It's definitely a monkey off our back," said goalkeeper Evan Bush. "A lot of the games lately, people say we haven't been playing with energy, but a lot of that has been that we were putting extra pressure on ourselves to get results.
"But to get that result, I think it will open things up for us to play a little more confidently."
What had been mostly a defensive struggle broke open when substitute Maxim Tissot sent fullback Eric Miller in on the left side. The rookie's dogged battle with Razva Cocis saw the ball squirt out to Di Vaio, who calmly slotted in his fifth goal of the season from near the penalty spot.
Piatti got a loud welcome from the announced crowd of 17,132. The Argentine midfielder had some encouraging moments, particularly when he combined with Di Vaio, before he was substituted in the 54th minute for Andres Romero.
Di Vaio, whose contract is up at the end of the season, was asked if he would consider extending his stay in Montreal to play an extra season with the Italian and Spanish-speaking Piatti, who inked a three and a half year deal. He said it would be difficult at his age.
"We already had a little talk between us," Piatti said through a translator. "I asked Marco if he will stay, but Marco said it's tough because of his family. But I said 'maybe we can find a solution.'
"Marco's a great player. You give him the ball and you get it back right away. There was a chemistry there, but there's still a lot of work to do to develop the chemistry."
The 29-year-old Piatti, who arrived Wednesday after helping the San Lorenzo club in Argentina to the Copa Libertatores final, said he was not surprised by the pace and physical style of MLS, but said he would need time to adapt to his new team.
"It's a first game, I felt pretty good," said Piatti, who had an ice pack on left knee at the bench after he came off. "The team played well as a group."
His best chance came only six minutes into the game. Piatti found himself in the Chicago area after a run down the left side, but wasn't able to get full control of the ball.
The victory got a busy week off a to a good start. The Impact travel to El Salvador to face CD FAS in a CONCACAF Champions League match on Wednesday and then head to New York to play the Red bulls on Saturday.
"It helps a lot because we had lost seven games in a row in MLS and now we have a big game in San Salvador," said Tissot. "Hopefully we can keep this going."
Chicago, which ended a three-game league unbeaten run, was coming off a 6-0 defeat Wednesday to Seattle in U.S. Open Cup play.
The Fire played with ardour, taking away the middle of the field and launching counterattacks, and made the Impact work for their chances.
One came in the 60th, when Felipe sent Romero on a run to the edge of the area and his low shot needed a reaching, one-handed save by Sean Johnson.
Bush had a hairy moment in the 38th minute when Lovel Palmer's shot from the right side got through his hands, but the ball was cleared from the six-yard box. The Fire also had eight corner kicks, which are often an adventure for the Montreal defence. But centrebacks Matteo Ferrari and Wandrille Lefevre were sharp.
Notes: Impact midfielder Calum Mallace served a one-game suspension for going onto the field from the bench during a game last week. . . Montreal is unbeaten (2-0-2) at home against Chicago in three seasons in MLS. . . Midfielder Dilly Duka, acquired July 29 from the Fire, played 90 minutes while Sanna Nyassi, who went to Chicago in the same deal, went on as a sub in the 78th.