A week after putting six past Real Salt Lake, D.C. United set a dubious record on Saturday night en route to a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact. Chris Rolfe struck in the 13th minute after Jairo Arrieta's effort put him through on goal, in what turned out to be United's only shot of the game. That made United the first team in MLS history to win a game while only taking one shot, a record that seemed implausible after last week's goal outburst.
United were without the services of Fabian Espindola, who picked up an apparently minor injury in training on Friday, but were buoyed by the returns of Bill Hamid, Sean Franklin, and Chris Pontius, all who saw time against Montreal.
Taylor Kemp, a week removed from his spectacular goal against RSL, was the instigator for the first chance for United, as his deep cross forced Evan Bush to push the ball out for a corner. Kemp took the resulting corner, and his ball to the back post was headed out back into the middle before Montreal was able to clear.
It was only two minutes later that United found the opener, with Rolfe netting for the 9th time this season. Arrieta did the grunt work on the goal, however: A poor pass from Marco Donadel allowed Arrieta to challenge for the ball deep in the Impact's half. Arrieta's sliding tackle to beat Wandrille Lefevre to the ball became a pass to the wide open Rolfe, who - sensing the opportunity - quickly got into the box to slide a shot by Bush for the lead.
Chances then started to fall Montreal's way, as United failed to take control of the match in the midfield. A first real moment of danger came after a Chris Korb foul on Dominic Oduro, but Donadel sent his free kick from 20 yards out straight to Hamid.
Hamid - making his first start since June after two surgeries - was called into action in the 20th minute to keep the Black-and-Red ahead. Johan Venegas had plenty of space in midfield to slip Andres Romero into the box, allowing the Argentine to get a strike off. Hamid was off his line early to cut down the angle though, and United were able to clear the danger following Hamid's save. United pushed back in the 32nd minute via Rolfe and Arrieta, but Rolfe's dangerous cross into the box was punched out by Bush just as Arrieta lunged to try to get on the end of the service.
D.C. had to see out several more chances from Montreal to ensure they made it to halftime with the one goal lead. Romero had another chance after getting on the end of a pass in the box, but Hamid was again positioned to make a save. The resulting corner was half-cleared, and after several bounces Wandrille Lefevre's diving header forced Hamid to tip the ball over for another corner.
Montreal had two more chances in the final moments of the half, but Venegas headed over from a cross from Ambroise Oyongo. A bigger threat came in the 44th minut: Oduro failed to convert a chance after Steve Birnbaum failed to deal with a long ball. The ball bounced over Birnbaum and fell invitingly for Oduro, but his shot on target was easily saved by Hamid.
The second half proceeded much in the same way that the first half ended, with Montreal enjoying virtually all the chances for the game's second goal. Ignacio Piatti had a chance early on in the half for the Impact, but after turning Korb in the box several times, Hamid cut the ball out for a corner.
Several minutes later, Donadel - who had disappointed with his set piece delivery for most of the game - finally found a target from a corner. His outswinging service found the head of Venegas, but the header bounced down in front of goal and then over the bar. Two minutes after that Oduro got a flick header on a free kick from Donadel, but no one in blue was home at the far post to get a touch for Montreal.
Oduro then had the best chance for Montreal in the whole match, only to be turned away by Hamid in the 73rd minute. After maybe the best spell of possession from United all night, Bobby Boswell coughed the ball up at the midfield stripe. Piatti won the ball and quickly played Oduro in on goal by himself. Hamid cut the angle down though, blocking Oduro's eventual weak shot . The ball rolled in front of the unguarded net, but Kemp arrived before any of the several trailing Montreal attackers could convert the opportunity.
As the game moved into the final stanza Montreal continued to push for an equalizer, but started to rely on long shots to try to beat Hamid. Piatti went first from outside the box, but his stinging shot was parried away by Hamid. Venegas was up next, but while Hamid couldn't hold the Costa Rican's strong effort he was able to cover before Oduro could pounce on the rebound.
Montreal's stand-in right back Eric Miller had two golden opportunities late on in the match, only to fail to find the target either time. First, he turned Kemp several times in the box to find some room to shoot, but his left footed effort sailed well over the goal. In stoppage time, his volley from a cross by Anthony Jackson-Hamel was contested just enough that he again shot too high.
Dilly Duka had one final opportunity in the dying moments of stoppage time, as yet another promising Oyongo cross caused danger. The ball was knocked down to Duka about 10 yards from goal, but his open attempt at a half-volley flew over the crossbar, allowing United to escape Canada with a 1-0 victory.
United, who remain atop the Supporters' Shield standings with 44 points from 25 games, heads to the Bronx to take on NYCFC on Thursday.