The Montreal Impact came into their game inspired after a good second half against Toronto FC, and they used that momentum to score two first-half goals on their way to a 2-0 win against the New England Revolution in their return to MLS play.
It was just their second win in MLS play this season and beat a team that was coming off of five straight victories and is first place.
The Impact got off to a great start in the game’s third minute. Andres Romero finished off a give and go with Marco Di Vaio to beat New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttlesworth between the legs. Romero was only getting the start because Justin Mapp was nursing an injury suffered pre-game and probably given a bit of a rest by head man Frank Klopas.
Mapp did enter the game in the 67th minute when he replaced Romero.
"“I’m really proud of my players,” said head coach Frank Klopas in a press release. “We had a really good performance. The attitude was there tonight and overall, the whole 90 minutes was great. I give all the credit to my players, but this is only the first step. We still have a lot of work to do.”"
The Impact added on to their lead later in the half when newcomer Issey Nakajima-Farran – who was making his first start shot a low drive on Shuttlesworth that Jack McInerney put home on the rebound. Nakajima-Farran was acquired from Toronto FC for Collen Warner.
The Impact started their first game with a 4-4-2 formation which means that McInerney and Di Vaio both started the same game for the first time all season. It was a formation they had used to even up the Voyageurs Cup game in Toronto on Wednesday.
In addition to the two goals, the Impact also had some key chances that just missed. Di Vaio tripped when approaching a free ball in the penalty area and was stopped by a sliding Revolution defender after beating an out-of-position Shuttlesworth.
"“I felt confident and excited to play the 4-4-2 with Marco and getting on the score sheet was a bonus. The work we’ve put in the last couple of weeks is really starting to show,” said McInerney. “We have a chance on Wednesday to win the Canadian Cup, and after a few good games, things are definitely going in the right direction.”"
Troy Perkins was solid in goal whenever New England had a chance and posted his 50th career shutout. The Impact played without Jeb Brovsky and used Mapp and Patrice Bernier in substitute roles to spread out the game action as the Impact deal with a congested fixtures list.
The second half saw the Impact sit back a little bit more but were still able to create some possession in the half.
Montreal is still currently in last place in the Eastern Conference, but are only six points back from a playoff spot. It is still early enough in the year that the Impact can fight back. As last year can attest, MLS is a longer season which allows for peaks and valleys.
The Impact play again on Wednesday at Stade Saputo against Toronto FC in the final leg of their Amway Canadian Championship. The score is currently 1-1 on aggregate with the Impact holding the edge on away goals.