A Marco Di Vaio brace and some solid goalkeeping from Evan Bush helped the Montreal Impact past C.D. FAS Wednesday night in El Salvador. This was Montreal’s second straight victory in the CONCACAF Champions League. They beat the same Salvadorian side 1-0 at home on August 5th.
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Despite playing in an environment they were not accustomed to, the Impact got off to a flying start.
It took only three minutes for Ignacio Piatti to set up Andrés Romero, who finished expertly into the far corner. It capped off a really smart passing move by the Impact’s midfield.
A few moments later, a Salvadorian defender misplayed the ball and Piatti was through on a one-on-two. The Argentine calmly waited for help, which came in the form of Marco Di Vaio making a run into the box. Di Vaio smashed a shot passed the helpless goalkeeper. The two Impact players ended up making the play look very easy.
However, C.D. FAS ended up staging a comeback and tying the game thanks to a 51st minute penalty converted by Marcio Teruel.
The Impact would fight back, though and Ignacio Piatti drew a penalty kick in the 60th minute. Di Vaio surprisingly ended up taking it instead of penalty specialist Patrice Bernier, but made no mistake picking the corner to give his team the lead for good.
The game seemed to be setting itself up for a thrilling finish when seconds after the third goal, Felipe was sent off for getting his second yellow card. Some calm and cool defending and a few good stops by Evan Bush sealed the win for Montreal.
In a press release after the game, Di Vaio talked about what the win meant for the Impact.
"“We’re very happy with the result because we tallied six points against that team. We played a good game, especially in the first half, by controlling the rhythm even with 10 players. We managed and reacted well during the toughest moments of the game. We will now face New York twice with more confidence.” – Marco Di Vaio"
The officiating at times came into question during the match. In the very first minute, Di Vaio was caught from behind with when an opponent scissor his trailing leg. Another opponent then kicked the ball at Di Vaio’s head while he was trying to get up.
It was a dangerous challenge and really poor sportsmanship. The Italian was visibly upset that no further action was taken and gave the referee – who was listed on the game sheet as simply ‘Delgadillo’ – an earful.
The penalty calls were disputed as well. The call that ultimately tied the game for the Salvadorian side was probably warranted, but the one given to Montreal was a bit weak.
Piatti appeared to run into the defender who was on the ground and it would have been very easy to play on. But the official decided to award the spot kick.
With his brace on Wednesday night, Di Vaio is now tied for the Champions League lead with three goals. Although it is still very early, it is good to see the star striker is taking the competition seriously.
The Impact, as Canadian Champions, are in Group C with C.D. FAS of El Salvador and MLS side New York Red Bulls. Montreal is now on top of the group with six points, while the Red Bulls and C.D. FAS are in second and third respectively on no points. New York will be kicking off their Champions League campaign in El Salvador on August 26th.
Montreal will be playing the Red Bulls in MLS league action on Saturday, August 23rd.