The Montreal Impact faced off this evening against the New York Red Bulls in a crucial CONCACAF Champions League game at Stade Saputo. The game marked the one remaining competition that the Impact are still in contention for in 2014 after struggling during the MLS regular season campaign.
The cold and rainy evening saw the Impact take a 1-0 victory on a goal scored by Designated Player Marco Di Vaio. The win takes Montreal to the top of the group with 9 points from three victories. The New Jersey based team brought a weakened side to Montreal for the match as they are currently in the middle of the MLS Eastern Conference playoff race and trying to rest their top players. Specifically, not having to face Thierry Henry this evening would have been a sigh of relief for the Impact as the former French international has ripped Montreal apart during his time in the MLS.
Italian Marco Di Vaio scored the games only goal in an uneventful first half in the 16th minute on a slick pass from newcomer Ignacio Nacho Piatti. With the poor weather conditions, it made passing difficult for both teams and hurt the flow of the game and build up play in the midfield. For the first time in a few weeks defender Matteo Ferrari was able to line up for the second half and complete the game. Ferrari's leadership and experience helped marshall the game from Montreal's point of view.
The second half continued much the same way the first half ended with both teams failing to create many chances. Red Bulls Connor Lade was sent off in the second half for his second yellow card on a clumsy challenge in the middle of the field. Honourable mention should also be given to keeper Evan Bush who continues to make a case for himself as the starting keeper next season after another solid performance.
Although New York left the majority of their stars at home the Impact needed to win this game and they did. As the MLS playoffs have been out of the picture for quite some time for the Impact this game was of paramount importance. Montreal has one more game remaining in the Champions League group stage on October 22 in New York, while New York must still travel to El Salvador to face C.D. F.A.S. before facing the Impact.
The Impact finish off their week this Saturday evening when the San Jose Earthquakes visit Stade Saputo.
The game report was written by John Richan. You can follow him at @JohnRichan