The Impact de Montreal recorded a 1-0 victory over the 10-man New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night at rainy Stade Saputo to take a commanding lead in Group 3 of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Marco Di Vaio netted for the Impact (3-0-0, 9 points), which extended its advantage over the Red Bulls (1-0-1, 3 points) to six points.
New York midfielder Connor Lade was awarded his second yellow card for a foul on Jeremy Gagnon-Laparein the 76th minute, forcing the visitors to play a man down.
The starting lineups deployed by the Major League Soccer rivals could not have been more different.
The Impact, with the fewest points in the league and longshots to reach the playoffs, used its regular Starting XI. The Red Bulls utilized reserve players, who combined for 26 starts this season. They left their three biggest names back home — captain Thierry Henry, Australian international Tim Cahill and Bradley Wright-Phillips, MLS’ leading goal-scorer this season; all of which were nursing injuries.
Di Vaio has scored in all of Montreal’s three CCL matches and struck for his fourth in the 16th minute. Ignacio Piatti looped a pass from the midfield to the former Italy international, who chested the ball, got a step on defender Richard Eckersley and beat goalkeeper Ryan Meara to the near right post from six yards.
Piatti made his presence felt in the third minute, when he fired a 25-yard shot off the left post.
Goalkeeper Evan Bush was perfect as Montreal has not allowed a CCL goal at home in 495 minutes. He pushed Eckersley’s header past the left post in the 33rd minute, produced a two-handed save on Eric Stevenson six minutes later and punched away a Ruben Bover attempt five minutes before the break.
Andres Romero came close to doubling the lead in the 88th minute, but he shot just wide right.
New York travels to play at CD FAS in El Salvador on September 24, before hosting Montreal in the group finale for both on October 22.