Photo by USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
Recent acquisition Ignacio Piatti made his debut for the Montreal Impact Saturday, but it was one of the Impact’s more familiar faces that truly made the difference in their clash with the Chicago Fire at Stade Saputo.
Forward Marco di Vaio scored the game-winning goal in the 84th minute, leading the Impact to a 1-0 victory, the team’s first in seven games.
With just six minutes remaining, the Impact caught the Fire on a quick restart following an offside call against Fire forward Quincy Amarikwa. Defender Eric Miller ignited the Impact attack by playing a quick one-two with substitute Maxim Tissot down the left side. Tissot nutmegged Fire defender Lovell Palmer on a pass to the surging Miller into the left side of the box.
Miller immediately cut in towards the center and laid the ball off to di Vaio, who was stationed near the top of the 18-yard box. The Italian forward fired a shot first-time, sliding the ball past Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson and into the goal’s right side-netting for his fifth goal of the season.
Di Vaio’s goal came on the tail end of a contest seemingly destined for a scoreless draw.
Piatti, the Impact’s recent signed Designated Player, made his debut in the starting XI and nearly created an early opportunity, but the Argentine was substituted in the 54th minute for Andres Romero.
Just six minutes after entering, Romero created what was the Impact’s best chance to that point. The Impact caught the Fire on a quick counter attack, with substitute Felipe sparking the attack from the middle of the field.
After receiving the ball from di Vaio, Felipe quickly found a surging Romero, who dashed between the Fire defense and had a shot on Johnson. The Fire goalkeeper dove to his left to make a spectacular fingertip save to keep Romero from opening the scoring.
However, there was nothing Johnson could do to prevent di Vaio’s game-winner, as the Italian’s late finish gave the Impact their first win since a June 29 victory over the Houston Dynamo.
The Impact, who remain at the bottom of the Eastern Conference despite the victory, will look to build upon Saturday’s efforts Wednesday in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League matchup with Salvadoran club CD FAS in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Meanwhile, the Fire, who sit one place ahead of the Impact in the standings, face another trip to Canada next time out with a matchup against Toronto FC on August 23.