For a few hours at least, the Montreal Impact will top the Eastern Conference.
The Houston Dynamo conceded more than three goals in a game for the first time this season as Marco Di Vaio, Felipe, Jeb Brovsky and Andrea Pisanu gave the Impact a resounding 5-0 win on Saturday night at Stade Saputo.
With 41 points, Montreal have reclaimed top spot in the East, two points ahead of Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls – though the latter team plays on Sunday at Chivas USA. Houston remain fifth in the East with 36 points.
Both teams squandered clear chances to open the scoring in the opening half hour, but while the misses deflated the Dynamo, they only seemed to wake Montreal up. Their first came in the 35th minute when Justin Mapp fed Di Vaio, who danced around a defender before rocketing his 14th goal of the season to the upper 90.
Stade Saputo had barely stopped celebrating when Felipe scored his fifth of the season two minutes later. Mapp collected from a dispossessed Di Vaio, then lofted a cross for Felipe who took a touch, then hit an unsaveable shot to the back post after the Dynamo defense were slow to close him down.
Both goalkeepers made big saves in the early stages of the second half, but Tally Hall was powerless on Montreal’s third. Hernan Bernardello hit an in-swinging corner which Houston’s Adam Moffat got a head on, but couldn’t clear, instead setting up an onrushing Brovsky who bundled home from two feet out.
A three-goal cushion was always going to play in Montreal’s counterattacking hands, and so it proved in the 70th minute as well as in stoppage time. First, Patrice Bernier and Di Vaio both beat the offside trap on a Felipe through pass, and Bernier laid the ball off for the striker who coolly completed his brace to go top of the Golden Boot race. Pisanu then poked a fifth goal in for good measure at the very end, on a one-on-one with Hall after another piece of Felipe class.
Road trips await both teams next weekend. The Impact travel to Philadelphia and face the Union on Saturday, August 31, while the Dynamo visit Toyota Park and the Chicago Fire on Sunday, September 1st.
Montreal Impact (12-7-5; 41 points) vs. Houston Dynamo (10-8-6; 36 points)
MLS regular season
August 24, 2013 – Stade Saputo, Montreal, QC
Attendance: 20,081 (sellout)
Montreal: Marco Di Vaio 14 (Justin Mapp 6) 35
Montreal: Felipe Martins 5 (Justin Mapp 7) 37
Montreal: Jeb Brovsky 2 (unassisted) 58
Montreal: Marco Di Vaio 15 (Patrice Bernier 7, Felipe Martins 7) 70
Montreal: Andrea Pisanu 1 (Felipe Martins 7) 90+1
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor (Eric Brunner 46), Corey Ashe; Andrew Driver (Jason Johnson 80), Adam Moffat (Alexander Lopez 62), Boniek Garcia, Brad Davis; Will Bruin, Giles Barnes
Unused substitutes: Erich Marscheider, Warren Creavalle, Cam Weaver, Brian Ching
Montreal Impact: Troy Perkins; Hassoun Camara, Alessandro Nesta, Matteo Ferrari, Jeb Brovsky; Andres Romero, Hernan Bernardello (Davey Arnaud 73), Patrice Bernier, Justin Mapp (Andrea Pisanu 80); Marco Di Vaio (Daniele Paponi 88), Felipe Martins
Substitutes not used: Evan Bush, Adrian Lopez, Collen Warner, Sanna Nyassi
Houston: Andrew Driver (caution) 72
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Assistant Referees: Bill Dittmar, Corey Parker
4th Official: Mathieu Bourdeau