Goals from Didier Drogba and Ignacio Piatti sparked a second-half comeback for the Montreal Impact Saturday, as Piatti's stoppage-time goal sealed a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire.
How it went down
Igboananike's curler gives Chicago the lead
Montreal had the first chance of the game off of an error from goalie Matt Lampson in the opening minutes. He hit it straight to Johan Venegas, who sent in a cross for former Fire player Dominic Oduro. But Oduro's shot went just wide of the far post. Chicago responded with a chance of their own, as Kennedy Igboananike had his header go inches wide. All of that action happened within the first five minutes of the game.
Off a free kick in the 11th minute, Oduro was able to win a header in the box and the ball snuck past Lampson and was rolling towards the goal line. Luckily for Chicago, Lampson was bailed out by Jonathan Campbell, who cleared it off the line to prevent the score.
Harry Shipp, who was making his return to Chicago after playing their last season, almost scored against his old club. Shipp cut inside his defender in the 21st minute and fired a rocket that went just over Lampson's goal. The momentum was all on Montreal's side and Chicago failed to generate offensive chances.
"We have to improve on that," said Fire manager Veljko Paunović when asked about the lack of offense from Chicago.
Even though they were not playing well, it was Chicago who struck first.
Off of a Montreal turnover in the 30th minute, Gilberto saw his defender slip and was in a one-on-one. He slid it over to a sprinting Igboananike; Igboananike, who also scored against the Philadelphia Union in the Fire's last home game, got the ball at the edge of the box, took a touch, and curled a beauty into the top right corner. Impact goalie Evan Bush had no chance as he watched the ball hit the back of the net for Chicago to take a 1-0 lead.
Oduro had another golden opportunity when he found himself with a shot inside the box off a set piece, but his shot went wide of the post. Shipp had another chance in the 45th minute, but it was easily saved by Lampson. It was 1-0 Chicago as the referee blew his whistle for halftime.
Didier Drogba levels it and Piatti seals it
The Impact in the second half got off to a more attacking formation, as Didier Drogba was brought on and Montreal went to two strikers up top. Drogba immediately made an impact, scoring with a great backheel flick in the 56th minute; Off a Lampson giveaway, Oduro was able to feed the ball into the Ivorian, who made no mistake when it came to finishing.
With Chicago pushing up in attack, several chances opened up for Montreal on the counter. Montreal nearly took the lead in the 63rd minute, but Piatti's touch failed him at just the last moment. Oduro had another two chances on the counterattack but like the previous times, he failed to hit the target.
The chances kept coming for the Impact as Wandrille Leferve saw his header off a corner go just wide in the 73rd minute. Montreal had the majority of the opportunities in the second half, many coming after the Drogba goal. The Impact's best chance after the equalizer came in the 81st minute when Drogba had his shot pushed away by Lampson.
"He gave us wings and we were able to control much of the second half," said Montreal manager Mauro Biello when asked about the Impact of Drogba's goal.
Chicago had a golden opportunity in the 76th minute when Matt Polster sent in a cross and it found a wide open Alex Morrell. Morrell's shot however, was stopped on a great save by Bush.
Piatti had a chance right after that, as he chipped it over the keeper but had the ball cleared away. Lefereve nearly found the back of the net on a corner when his back post effort was caught by Lampson.
Chicago's keeper came up with another big save in the 89th minute, but he couldn't keep out Piatti's effort, as the Argentine curled one into the back of the net. It was a stoppage-time goal and it couldn't have came at a worse time for the Fire.
"These are the types of players who can make a difference in a game," said Biello when asked about Drogba and Piatti.
The stunner turned out to be the game-winner for Montreal, who kept their spot at the top of the table with another win and gave Chicago a heartbreaking loss.
"We have to learn from this game," said Paunovic when he was asked about the tough loss. "We have to take advantage of our opportunities we create and we have be more mature."