Just days after the disappointment of being knocked out of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, D.C. United quickly bounced back, defeating the Montreal Impact 1-0 at RFK Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Jairo Arrieta, an offseason pick up by the Black-and-Red, netted his second goal for United this season, after opening his account on Wednesday against Alajuelense.
Dilly Duka, Montreal's two goal hero in Mexico against Pachuca in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal had the first opportunity of the game after a poor United turnover in their own half. But Duka only managed to fire a shot that skipped wide of Bill Hamid's near post in the 6th minute.
The Black-and-Red's first chance didn't come until the 19th minute, and came with some help from Montreal. Laurent Ciman, an offseason acquisition for the Impact, misplayed a back pass, allowing Jairo Arrieta to fly in and take possession. Arrieta did well to hold off a challenge from Ciman and feed Chris Pontius, who made his way into the box. But with pressure from Bakary Soumare, Pontius went wide from a tight angle.
Neither team created much for most of the first half, but Montreal Impact left back Donny Toia managed to work Hamid into making a save in the 35th minute. Montreal had United under pressure for a couple of minutes, and after D.C. failed to properly clear the ball out, the ball fell to Toia, who had a cracking effort from 25 yards out that Hamid palmed out for a corner.
From there, United finally found a footing in the game, and finished out the half by creating several looks on goal. A combination play in midfield between Nick DeLeon and Chris Rolfe set Rolfe racing into the box with the ball, but a chipped attempt forced keeper Evan Bush into his only save of the half.
Davy Arnaud played a ball in behind the Impact defense several minutes later, allowing Pontius to get into some space on the right. But after several cutbacks, Pontius' shot was blocked, and Montreal cleared out. Rolfe then had two chances in the dying minutes of the half, but an effort from the top of the box was blocked, before he fired wide at the near post with the last kick of the first half.
After a long period of possession with to start the second half, D.C. United conceded the first look of the half to Justin Mapp. The American winger picked up possession in the United half, but had a right footed shot palmed away from Hamid.
From there, United immediately found the opening goal. From Hamid's save, DeLeon held the ball up, and then fed it back towards his own goal for Arnaud. Arnaud quickly found Rolfe near midfield, and his deft chip played Arrieta in behind the Impact defense. With Bush charging out at him, Arrieta flicked in a shot under Bush in the 58th minute for his second goal in three games this season.
Pontius nearly added to the lead three minutes later, with Arrieta involved again. A perfectly placed chip was chested down by Pontius in the box, but his shot, which eluded Bush, smashed off the underside of the crossbar, and Bush snagged the rebound to eliminate any more trouble.
Montreal's Champions League hero from Tuesday night, Cameron Porter, had an honest chance after he came on for Jack McInerney with 19 minutes left. Bakary Soumare sent an inviting cross from the right hand side for Montreal, but Porter was being muscled away from the ball as he sent his effort wide of the mark.
Montreal then had a chance cleared off the line, as they argued for a penalty. Hamid dealt poorly with a Mapp corner kick, and with Montreal retaining possession, Soumare redirected a shot that had Hamid beat. But Conor Doyle (subbed on minutes earlier for Pontius) was well placed to block the shot on the line, and referee Mark Geiger waved off penalty claims for a handball.
From a United turnover deep in the Montreal half in the 82nd minute, Mapp almost found an equalizer for the Impact. Montreal broke quickly from their own end, and after Arnaud failed to cut a pass out, substitute chipped a ball over the defense for Mapp. But as he broke in towards goal, Hamid came quickly off his line, and was able to parry the shot away.
Mapp had to come off after that chance, as he fell awkwardly in the process of taking the shot, and appeared to have injured. With the speedster Dominic Oduro on his place, the Impact failed to really test Hamid in the last ten minutes and stoppage time, allowing United to take all three points in their MLS opening game.
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