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Columbus Crew 2, Montreal Impact 0 | MLS Match Recap

COLUMBUS, Ohio – In a match that they desperately needed to win to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Columbus Crew found a 2-0 win against the Montreal Impact Saturday in Crew Stadium.

Goals from Ethan Finlay and Federico Higuain secured the much-needed win for the Crew (11-9-10), pulling them back ahead of Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls in the East for the time being with 43 points. For Montreal (6-18-6), who were eliminated from playoff contention last week, the loss marked another failure to record two wins in a row in 2014.

The Crew – known for their slow starts at times this season – came out flying in the match, and Finlay put the Impact on their heels early. Wil Trapp found Finlay on a blazing run down the right side of the pitch. Finlay took a touch and fired a shot into the top right of the goal, beating goalkeeper Evan Bush on his near side to open scoring.

Columbus were relentless for the remainder of the first half, racking up an incredible 93 percent passing rate and advantages in nearly every statistical category. But the Impact found the occasional chance, and the Crew needed a few last-ditch sliding efforts to clear loose balls in their own penalty area to keep Montreal off of the scoreboard.

The Impact hung onto the slim deficit until the 58th minute, when Finlay was brought down by Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare in the Montreal box during a Justin Meram breakaway. Referee Sorin Stoica saw enough to give the Crew a penalty, much to the dismay of head coach Frank Klopas and the Impact.

Higuain, who had missed his last two penalties and three on the season, left no doubt with the spot kick, slamming a low shot into the side netting, never leaving Bush a chance at the ball. The kick brought Higuain to 12 of 17 on penalty kicks in his Crew career, passing the legendary Brian McBride on the team's all-time list and drawing him to just one behind Guillermo Barros Schelotto for the team record.

A frustrating trip for Montreal came to a head in the 66th minute, when Frank Klopas expressed his displeasure with a call against his team to Stoica. HIs arguing was too much, and the referee ejected him from the match.Klopas's suspension will keep him off of the bench next week for the team's match against the Chicago Fire, which would have been the coach's first trip to Chicago to face his old club.

Substitute Marco Di Vaio thought he had pulled back a goal in added time for the Impact, but Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark continued his blazing hot streak of late, diving to his right and putting an outstretched glove on the well-taken attempt to preserve his eighth clean sheet of the season.

MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match

Rank Player What We Saw
1 Ethan Finlay His speed caused problems all game for the Impact. Scored the first goal and drew the PK for the second. 
2 Wil Trapp His through ball sprung Finlay for the first goal. Was calm and collected on the ball as usual.
3 Steve Clark Come up huge on a couple of occasions, including in stoppage time when he saved Marco Di Vaio's PK.

 

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