October 1, 2020

D.C. United Game 24 Recap: Di Vaio double dooms D.C.

Once again, young D.C. United forward Conor Doyle scored a key, late goal against the Montreal Impact. This time, however, the Impact had a quick and decisive response, as Marco Di Vaio scored his second goal of the game and 13th of the season in the 83rd minute to lift Montreal to a 2-1 win over United before 20,801 in Montreal.

United fell to 3-17-4 (13 points) on the season and remain last in 19-team Major League Soccer. The Impact improved to 11-7-5 (38 points), tied with Philadelphia for third in the Eastern Conference, one point behind leaders Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls.

Doyle, who scored the winning goal in United’s 3-1 victory over the Impact on August 3 at RFK Stadium, scored last night in the 81st minute to draw United level. It was Doyle’s second goal of the season, already tying him for second on the club in league play with Dwayne De Roasrio and Lionard Pajoy (one behind Luis Silva for the club lead).

But last night, the goal didn’t hold up. Di Vaio, who scored in the 43rd minute to give the Impact the lead, put three points in the bag just 2 minutes after Doyle’s goal. The goal started in the midfield, with United losing possession just past the halfway line. Di Vaio ran down a long ball from Patrice Bernier that landed in the United penalty area, to the right of D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid.

Defender Dejan Jakovic was in the vicinity, but was beaten to the ball by Di Vaio, who then cut the ball behind Jakovic, leaving the United player’s back to the ball and his man. Before Jakovic recovered, Di Vaio blasted a right-footed shot into the upper corner at the far post past Hamid, a strike the goalkeeper had little chance of stopping from about the time that Di Vaio lost Jakovic with his first touch.

Di Vaio’s first goal earlier in the game came off a well-executed Montreal build up, that started in the middle but was keyed by Justin Mapp on the Impact’s right side. Allowed to get deep on the flank and play a cross in, his pass was dummied by Felipe Martins, which led it straight to Di Vaio.

Like the first goal, Di Vaio created space for himself by losing Jakovic. The United defender was watching the ball as the play developed, drifting back toward his own goal. Martins’ run in the space between Mapp’s flank and the middle, where Di Vaio was, drew the attentoin of a pair of United defenders – Daniel Woolard and Chris Korb, leaving Jakovic to fend with Di Vaio.

But Jakovic was nowhere near Di Vaio when the ball came to the Montreal attacker, and he had all the time and space he needed to turn Mapp’s pass toward goal and beat Hamid to give Montreal the lead just before halftime.

Tempers flared in the 75th minute after Mapp and United defender James Riley collided at midfield, near the sideline where the two benches are positioned. The force of the collision sent Mapp into a camera stand set just a couple feet off the field of play. Montreal head coach Marco Schällibaum was enraged by the play, for which Riley was cautioned, and got into a verbal kerfuffle with United head coach Ben Olsen.

Perhaps unwisely, Schällibaum crossed over the midfield stripe to argue with Olsen, an action to which the league probably won’t take kindly. Given that it appeared Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins’ goal kick was headed out of play, it’s questionable whether Riley needed to make any contact. But aggression is usually greater than passiveness, and Riley played to the whistle.

While Schällibaum appeared to be the aggressor in the confrontation, both coaches were sent off and will miss their respective clubs’ next league matches. It would be up to MLS to decide if further discipline is warranted for either Schällibaum or Olsen.

But the incident wasn’t the only spark left in the game. In the 81st minute, United equalized on some good work from Luis Silva and Doyle. Off a Montreal turnover near midfield, Silva got the ball in the middle, running toward the Montreal goal, outside the penalty area. Three Montreal players went toward Silva, which maybe isn’t a surprise given the talent Silva has shown at scoring from distance since coming to United from Toronto FC.

One of those three was Hassoun Camara, who turned his back on Doyle and never recovered. Doyle made a smart run to the left of Silva and once Silva fed Doyle the ball entering the penalty area, Doyle hit a neat left-footed shot across the face of Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins, who dove left but couldn’t get a finger on it as the ball hit the inside of the side netting at the far post.

Doyle’s goal was only United’s 14th of the season (one more than Di Vaio has by himself), but it was the sixth scored by either him, Silva, or Jared Jeffrey – all recent acquisitions as the club brings young players into the fold.

The good feeling of Doyle’s equalizer was short-lived, however, as Di Vaio had the last laugh.

United returns to league play next Saturday, in a 7 p.m. kickoff at RFK Stadium against Toronto FC.

NOTES: United are averaging 0.54 points per game. The all-time low in MLS belong to the 1999 New York/New Jersey MetroStars, who were held to 0.47. In this 34-game season, United need 17 points this season to cleanly surpass the MetroStars and not be, from a statistical standpoint anyway, the worst team in MLS history. The 2001 Tampa Bay Mutiny average just 0.52 points per game. United need 19 points to clear the Mutiny, who were contracted following the 2001 campaign. … Doyle’s goal was just United’s third away goal in the league this season. … United are 23 points out of a playoff spot with 10 matches left.

Di Vaio 43′,83′
Doyle 81′

DC – De Rosario, yellow, 39′
MON – Romero, yellow, 47′
DC – Thorrington, yellow, 71′
DC – Riley, yellow, 75′
MON – Di Vaio, yellow, 84′
MON – Bernier, yellow, 91′

Shots: MON 12-15 DC
Shots on Goal: MON 8-6 DC
Corners: MON 3-3 DC
Fouls: MON 15-10 DC
Offside: MON 2-5 DC
Possession: MON 42.8%-57.2% DC

UNITED (3-17-4):  Hamid; Riley (Iapichino 90′), Korb, Jakovic, Woolard; Thorrington, DeLeon, Porter (Doyle 72′), Kitchen; De Rosario, Silva (Neal 84′).

IMPACT (11-7-5):  Perkins; Nesta, Brovsky, Ferrari, Camara; Bernier, Romero, Mapp, Bernardello (Warner 73′); Di Vaio (Paponi 90′), Martins (Nyassi 83′).

Ed Morgans is the United Page Editor for District Sports Page. For in-game analysis and story notifications, follow him on Twitter @writered21.

About Ed Morgans

Ed Morgans is DC United Page Editor for District Sports Page. Ed worked for The Journal Newspapers (now The Examiner) and covered DC United from 1997-2002. He spent the 2003 season writing for the club’s website. Ed has covered All-Star Games, MLS Cups, CONCACAF Champions Cup, World Cup qualifiers, and international friendlies. He also worked as a blogger at www.bigsoccer.com, the country’s leading soccer message board website. You can follow Ed on Twitter @writerEd21.


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