The Montreal Impact defeated the league leading San Jose Earthquakes 3-1, Saturday night at Stade Saputo, in front of a sellout crowd of 19,441 spectators. Designated Player Marco Di Vaio, along with midfielders Lamar Neagle and Patrice Bernier all scored for the home side.
With the win, the Impact earned a fourth consecutive victory, its fifth win at home in a row, improving its record in Montreal to 9-3-2 (7-2-0 and Stade Saputo). The Impact is now tied with D.C. United for 5th place in the Eastern Conference standings, which is the cut off for a spot in the playoffs.
San Jose opened the scoring when forward MLS goal Chris Wondolowski converted a penalty in the 23rd minute, putting a low shot passed Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins low, right. The PK was the result of scuffle between Impact defender Hassoun Camara and Quakes forward Steven Lenhart that led to both players being shown red cards in the 21st minute. The goal ended a streak of 234 minutes without allowing a goal against.
The Impact came right back to tie it up in the 25th minute when midfielder Felipe brought down a ball inside the box. He made a move around the defender, dribbled to the goal line six yards from goal, and played a ball across the six yard box where DP Marco Di Vaio roofed it for his second of the season.
The Impact then took the lead in the 62nd minute. Midfielder Patrice Bernier, dribbling the ball near the top of the box, before giving the ball to midfielder Lamar Neagle, making his first start since July 21 at Houston. Neagle one timed the ball and curled it to the left of Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch.
Bernier added one of his own on a PK in the 72nd minute with a stutter step, shooting to his right, and catching the goalkeeper going the wrong way. The referee pointed to the spot when Di Vaio was dragged down from behind in the box by defender Jason Hernandez, as he was breaking in alone. Hernandez was shown a red card for his action. The goal was Bernier’s team leading 7th of the season and 5th from the penalty spot.
“This was probably our best performance of the season so far,” said Impact head coach Jesse Marsh. “We could have hung our heads after the reds. There were moments this season when we didn’t respond well to adversity, but tonight we didn’t back down. These guys are strong and committed and right now it’s one game at a time.”
“It was a good experience,” said Impact defender Jeb Brovsky. “I haven’t played there before, but alongside a vet like Matteo (Ferrari), it was a little easier to slip in there. We did a great job as a back line. Dennis (Iapichino) did a great job and Davy (Arnaud) slid in as right back and did a great job as well.”
“It was a very important game for us tonight,” said Impact midfielder Felipe. “After they got the 1-0 lead, we didn’t stop playing. We had a good performance against a very good team and we have to keep going. I’m very proud of the group.”
Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins came up big in the early going, making two saves to keep the score tied. In the 2nd minute, Lenhart hammered a half volley with his right foot from inside the box, but Perkins made a diving stop to his right. Then, in the 11th minute, Simon Dawkins dribbled down the left flank, cut towards the centre and fired a low, long distance shot from outside the box that Perkins stopped, diving to his right. Perkins now has two wins in as many starts with the Impact, having allowed just one goal.
Di Vaio had another chance in the 33rd minute when a deep ball played down the left flank found him just behind the defender, but his shot from 20 yards out was caught by Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch.
Di Vaio was once again involved in a good scoring play in the 57th minute, when he played a through ball into the box for midfielder Collen Warner. Busch slid out to challenge the shot from the top of the box, getting to it just about the same time as Warner. The rebound bounced to Lamar Neagle, but his shot went over the bar.
Neagle almost had another in the 83rd minute, when he was played through on side with a cross, but his left-footed shot from the top of the box was stopped by Busch, diving to his right.