Two runs of futility ended on Wednesday night at Stade Saputo, and two legends struck for their respective sides. However, it was Orlando City who overcame an early goal to earn its first road win since March 18 after defeating the 10-man Montreal Impact 4-1.
Drogba scored off a free kick after just one minute, although goalkeeper Joe Bendik made it easier for the Ivorian after whiffing on a punch when a simple catch would have sufficed.
That error seemed to wake up the visitors as Brek Shea capitalized on a defensive mishap from the Impact’s Hassoun Camara and Donny Toia just seconds later. Evan Bush rushed off his line in an attempt to stop Matias Perez Garcia, but the ball found its way into the center of the box, allowing Shea to tap it into the open goal.
The game’s entertainment levels dipped for the next 30 minutes, until Orlando City took advantage of another individual mistake. With Laurent Ciman in possession in the defensive third, Garcia stole the ball, dribbled down the right flank, picked out Carlos Rivas, who then laid it off for Kaka to make it 2-1 at halftime.
The Lions continued to pressure the Impact goal in the second half, especially on the counter with Garcia pulling the strings as the No. 10 with Rivas up front and Kaka on the flank.
One of the Argentine playmaker’s better passes arrived in the 51st minute as his through ball to Rivas beat the Impact’s high line. Goalkeeper Evan Bush tried to close down the space in front of the Colombian, but the shot-stopper ended up tripping the forward in the box, prompting referee Silviu Petrescu to award a penalty and to send off Bush. Kaka converted the ensuing spot kick to give Orlando a 3-1 lead.
Despite trailing by two goals at home with 10 men on the pitch, Montreal continued to press forward. The Impact finally caught a break after Matteo Mancosu was fouled in the penalty area, giving the hosts a lifeline.
Drogba stepped up to take the penalty, but Bendik made amends for his earlier gaff and made a terrific diving save to his right to preserve the two-goal advantage.
The wasted opportunity seemed to deflate the Impact, as Rivas struck in the 77th minute to wrap up the victory for Orlando City, who now sits in sixth place in the Eastern Conference on 34 points, two above D.C. United for the final playoff spot.
Montreal, meanwhile, has won just once in its last five games and remains in fifth place on 37 points.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Matias Perez Garcia dictated the tempo of the game and created the majority of Orlando City’s chances throughout the night, carving open the Impact defense on several occasions.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
The initial through ball from Garcia to Carlos Rivas that forced Bush to come off his line was easily his best pass of the match.
MATCH TO FORGET
There were several horrific errors, but Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush‘s red card completely turned the match in Orlando City’s favor.