MONTREAL –The Stade Saputo grass might have been cleared of snow, but there were cold feet galore treading on it after a 24-hour delay. Thankfully, they heated up.
The Columbus Crew and the Montreal Impact struggled to get going Sunday afternoon in Montreal, but the two goals they ultimately produced in their 1-1 draw this were a delight indeed. Dominic Oduro beautifully cancelled out Marco Di Vaio’s well-taken opener during a four-minute stretch in the second half.
The result kept Montreal on top of the Eastern Conference with 14 points, a total that Sporting Kansas City could match with a win in New York on Wednesday. Columbus now have 9 points thanks to their fourth consecutive game with at least a point – and they have now scored in 13 consecutive games.
Columbus got the first noteworthy opportunity of the game in the 29th minute when referee Mark Geiger played a good advantage after Davy Arnaud fouled Agustin Viana on the left of midfield. The ball fell for Federico Higuaín, whose swift strike missed Troy Perkins’ net by a few inches.
The Argentinean almost beat Perkins 10 minutes later as he found himself in a one-on-one situation, but the ‘keeper's armpit blocked the attempt.
Montreal, meanwhile, patiently waited for space to open up behind the Crew defense. While their three first-half shots were all comfortably saved by Andy Gruenebaum, the second stanza yielded some more excitement for the home fans. Marco Di Vaio, for one, thought he had scored in the 63rd minute, but a very tight offside call got in the way.
Di Vaio got his goal in the 68th minute, though. Sanna Nyassi’s failed volley attempt on the edge of the box turned into an assist to the Italian, and no offside flag, nor goalkeeper, could stop his thunderous shot.
Four minutes later, Dominic Oduro answered back for Columbus. The Ghanaian sharpshooter’s aerial control in front of Hassoun Camara, on the right of Perkins’ net, was impeccable. The left-footed finish, in the top right corner, was spectacular. Both Di Vaio and Oduro have now scored three goals in 2013.
A trip to Chicago awaits the Crew next Saturday, April 20, as they face the Fire, whom the Impact also face at home on April 27. Montreal’s next fixture is a Canadian Championship match at Toronto FC on Wednesday, April 24.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Dominic Oduro||The strike speaks for itself, but he played the outlet role perfectly all afternoon, relieving pressure and creating chances.|
|2||Marco Di Vaio||Could have had two goals, but the linesman's flag said otherwise. Clinical finish and dangerous all afternoon.|
|3||Alessandro Nesta||Barely put a foot wrong all afternoon and controlled the Impact's possession game from the back forward.|