Turns out the Montreal Impact might not just be doing it with smoke and mirrors. After two straight winless league matches -- and a surprising 2-0 loss to Toronto FC in the Amway Canadian Championship -- the Impact at least temporarily moved back into the top position in the Eastern Conference on the strength of a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Saturday.
Although the Impact definitely took advantage of the Fire having to play the final 27 minutes down a man, they looked to be the better club throughout. Unlike previous matches, they managed to be the ones pressing much of the action, too.
The Impact ended up with 62 percent of the possession, completed 81 percent of their passes and fired off 16 shots. They also put six of those on target, with Sean Johnson having to make several good saves to keep it from getting any worse.
As it was, the Impact got a pair of well-taken goals from Andres Romero and Marco Di Vaio. Romero's goal when he took a pass from Andrea Pisanu, cut back the ball to create space and then beat Johnson to the far post.
The match took a drastic turn against the Fire in the 63rd minute, when Jeff Larentowicz was ruled to have clipped the heels of Pisanu as he broke behind the defense and was given a red card. The referee initially called for a penalty, but after conferring with the assistant ref placed the free kick just outside the penalty area. Johnson was able to save Di Vaio's free kick with a diving effort, but the Italian veteran got him back in the 76th minute.
That's when Di Vaio showed off some of the moves that made him a prolific scorer in Italy. Pisanu took an entry pass about eight yards out and flicked it back out. Di Vaio controlled the ball with his back to goal and fired off a quick shot as he spun around. The shot just beat Johnson.