Emilio Renteria netted a stoppage-time winner as the Columbus Crew won their fourth straight match to move into the playoff zone in the Eastern Conference, coming from behind to defeat the Montreal Impact 2-1 on Saturday night at Crew Stadium.
Marco Di Vaio put the Impact ahead in the 73rd minute with a classy finish, only for Federico Higuain to once again turn into the difference-maker for the Crew. The Columbus designated player provided both assists on header goals by Chad Marshall and Renteria to lead the club to another victory.
The result dealt a blow to Montreal's playoff hopes with the Impact stuck on 39 points with only five matches remaining.
The Crew had a call for a hand ball by Montreal's Nelson Rivas in the first half, but the club's newfound explosive attack couldn't combine for match against a well-organized Montreal side. The visitors had the best chances of the opening half but Lamar Neagle and Davy Arnaud were foiled by Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, who resumed his goalkeeping duties for Columbus after coming out with an injury in the midweek win in Colu
The Impact were not discouraged and Sanna Nyassi sparked the club to the opening goal of the match midway through the second half. He beat three defenders and served a ball in the box that made its way to Di Vaio on the right side of the box. The Italian was calm under pressure and used a classy chip to beat Gruenebaum.
The Columbus response came on a set piece by Higuain which found Marshall. The Crew defender beat Montreal's Rivas to the ball and headed home the ball over Montreal 'keeper Troy Perkins.
Higuain came up with another pinpoint delivery in stoppage time, finding the head of second-half substitute Renteria, who flicked the ball past Perkins for the game-winner.
The schedule is unrelenting for Columbus, who are back in action on Wednesday night in New England (7:30 p.m. ET). Montreal have two weeks to think about the loss, returning to league play on Saturday, September 15 in Chicago (8:30 p.m. ET).
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Federico Higuain||Again the Crew's difference-maker with two assists to decide the match. The most dangerous player for his side against a well-organized Impact squad.|
|2||Andy Gruenebaum||Took over GK duties again and his crucial saves to end the first half kept the Crew in the match after they struggled in the opening 45 minutes.|
|3||Emilio Renteria||Dealing with new role as bench player, but comes through and enjoys the spotlight with a stoppage time winner. If Higuain works well with Jairo Arrieta, who says it can't work with Renteria?|