The Montreal Impact left it late, but nevertheless pulled out all three points at the hands of the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night at Stade Saputo. Jack McInerney tapped one in in the 81st minute and Dilly Duka followed up a few moments later with a great individual effort.
The Impact got to play the role of spoiler in this game, as the ‘Quakes were making a desperate push for a playoff spot in the MLS Western Conference. At midseason, they found themselves in second to last place in the league (only a few points ahead of the Impact) but have since rebounded and are rallying.
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However, Saturday night probably all but crushed their dreams of the postseason and in all honesty, they did not look like a team worthy of a playoff berth.
Montreal had all the pressure in the first half and some nice goalkeeping by Jon Busch was the only thing that kept the game scoreless.
The shot totals were tilted massively in the Impact’s favor, with Montreal recording 19 (six on target) compared to San Jose’s eight (one on target).
The most impressive player on the night was Ignacio Piatti, who was creating chances and had four shots – one of which forced Busch into an incredible diving save.
Piatti would be subbed off in the 57th minute for Marco Di Vaio, who would factor greatly into the match.
In the ’81, Di Vaio turned and took a shot from just outside the box. The shot was bouncing and Busch had to punch it. Unfortunately for him, it hit right off of Jack McInerney and in.
This was only McInerney’s second start in the past five games. He was missing time because of the chemistry that has been formed between Di Vaio and newcomer Piatti. This was the American’s first goal since June 29th against Houston.
Di Vaio was at it again just a few minutes before stoppage time. He set up Dilly Duka on the edge of the box and Duka took his time, faked his defender and placed a picture perfect shot into the far bottom corner.
The 38-year-old was credited with an assist and also served as a screen of sorts, as he hopped out of the way of the shot milliseconds before it hit the side netting.
This game proves that Di Vaio is still an effective player. Of course his numbers are not as eye popping as his 20 goal campaign last season, but he was directly responsible for this win and made his manager look like a genius for bringing him on.
“We played well tonight and created a lot of opportunities,” the Italian said in a press release. “It was harder for us in the second half because we’ve had a lot of games lately and have been travelling around, but we played well.”
Head coach Frank Klopas agreed with his star striker.
"“I thought the guys gave everything, all the way to the end. We lost a little bit in the second half, but I think we got it back, even though a lot of the players on our team have a lot of minutes played.” – Frank Klopas"
The game was solid for the Impact. They left it a bit late, but came away with three points and that’s all that matters. The only question I have is, where were these performances earlier in the season?
The Impact will be playing the Crew in Columbus next week, on Saturday, September 27th.