Montreal Impact Survive Tough Test From Columbus Crew

When the Montreal Impact received the Columbus Crew on Saturday night at Saputo Stadium, there was revenge in the air.

The Crew beat Montreal in Columbus back in July thanks to two strikes from Bernardo Anor. Both the goals can from outside the box and were ones that the defense and goalkeeper Evan Bush wanted back.

The loss was especially painful because the Impact had the lead for more than half the game and were playing their best soccer in nearly two months. Anor was in the lineup for this one, but wouldn’t factor in like he did at Crew Stadium last time these two met.

Slowly but surely, the Impact’s role in this Major League Soccer season has turned from floormat to spoiler. They have actually been playing pretty well as of late, winning three of their last four matches in all competitions.

As for the Crew, they are struggling to hold on to a playoff spot, coming in only two points ahead of the sixth place New York Red Bulls, whom had two games in hand.

The match started out with the visitors seeing a lot of the ball and the Impact trying to keep them out of the middle of the park and away from their goal.

The Crew would mustard a very good chance in the 12th minute. They built up a nice move down the pitch, but the Montreal defense weathered the storm and fought through.

Then, 25 minutes in, the tides began to turn and the Impact enjoyed a lot of ball possession. It would culminate in Ignacio Piatti having a good chance to score, but it was well saved by Steve Clark.

Montreal kept their foot on the gas and it paid off in five minutes from half time. Piatti dribbled into the box, cut back onto his left foot and fired a shot past Clark. It would serve as the new signing’s first goal in the MLS.

1-0 Montreal

The second half was witness to some back-and-forth play, but neither team could find the back of the net.

The Crew’s Federico Higuain had a dangerous free kick in 64′, but Evan Bush made a routine stop.

Shortly thereafter, Maxim Tissot found Marco Di Vaio on the right, but the Italian’s strike whistled just wide.

In the dying moments of the game, with the Impact looking like they would settle for the one-goal lead, Di Vaio and Piatti broke out on a two-on-two. Di Vaio dribbled into the box and unleashed a shot that was blocked. The rebound fell right onto the foot of Piatti, who hammered it home for his second of the match.

Aug 30, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Impact midfielder Ignacio Piatti (10) reacts with teammate Wandrille Lefevre (55) after scoring a goal against the Columbus Crew during the second half at Stade Saputo. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

2-0 Montreal – Final

The Montreal Impact finally seem to be building some momentum. Since Nacho Piatti’s debut on August 16th against the Chicago Fire, the team is 3-1-0, having scored eight goals in those games.

Even though Piatti’s first goal came in his fourth game, his presence has been nothing but positive. It should be interesting to see how the remainder of the year shapes up.

Piatti talked about the team’s new found offense in a post-game press release.

“We played a really good game tonight. I’m really happy to have scored for the team. We are building some good chemistry in the attacking zone and with that, it’s only going to get better.” – Ignacio Piatti

Head Coach Frank Klopas pointed to the high percentage of midfield battles won as a reason for the success.

“Our ability to win 50/50 balls in the midfield and having a presence there helped us alleviate some pressure on the backline. Our quality in the final third was the difference in a game that went back and forth momentum wise. Evan Bush made some good saves and in the end, everyone had a very good night to get this type of result.” – Frank Klopas

The Crew lost some ground in the race for the postseason. It is possible that they will fall out of a playoff spot, if the Red Bulls beat D.C. United on August 31st.

As for Montreal, they remain in last place in the East, but are now eight points behind 9th-place Houston and nine back of 8th-place Fire. The Impact will travel to Houston on September 6th and then face the L.A. Galaxy in a mid-week game on Wednesday, September 10th.