By DAN KARELL
After losing three straight matches and coming out of the halftime break trailing by one goal, the Montreal Impact were determined to change the team’s fortunes in the second stanza.
Thanks to goals from Marco Di Vaio and Karl Ouimette in the second half, the Impact came back from a 1-0 deficit to defeat the Philadelphia Union, 2-1, on Saturday afternoon at Stade Saputo. The victory nearly ensures the Impact a place in the playoffs as they currently sit in third place with 49 points, while the Union now need to win their final match and have other results go their way to make the postseason.
Many of those in attendance may have thought that the recent struggles for the Impact had carried over into the final two weeks of the season. The aging and shaky Impact defense struggled to keep up with the Union’s wingers and in fact, it was a Union fullback who scored the first goal of the match.
In the 29th minute, the Philadelphia Brazil connection worked it’s magic as midfielder Kleberson found left back Fabinho streaking into the left side of the box. With nearly nothing to aim at, Fabinho managed to send his shot into the roof, over the hands of Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins for a deserved lead.
The halftime break may have been just what the hosts needed, as they came out with a renewed sense of energy and focus in the second half. Di Vaio, who recently announced that he would be returning to the club next season, took a Davy Arnaud pass in the box, spun away from Union defender Amobi Okugo, and finished in the 64th minute to tie the game.
After a number of close-range chances, the Impact finally found the breakthrough in the 84th minute when Ouimette scored his first goal in MLS on a header from a Justin Mapp free kick.
Here are the game highlights:
Fabinho wasn’t playing left back. Ray Gaddis is the starting left back. Fabinho plays left winger although he came into the league as a left back.