DC United 1, Montreal Impact 0 | MLS Match Recap
WASHINGTON - D.C. United and the Montreal Impact met at a bitterly cold RFK Stadium on Saturday afternoon, both teams playing on short rest after their respective CONCACAF Champions League matches earlier in the week.
It would be United that would start their 20th season off with a bang, Jairo Arrieta’s second-half strike good enough to lead United to a 1-0 victory over Montreal in front of a bundled up crowd of 11,549.
Playing on a field ringed with piles of slush and snow — RFK’s grounds crew worked through the night to clear some eight inches of snow from the playing surface — neither team looked particularly dangerous in a largely forgettable first half.
Arrieta and Chris Pontius combined 19 minutes in to create United’s first scoring opportunity, the Costa Rican forward finding Pontius with a pass about 30 yards from goal. Pontius cut left, then right, before striking a left-footed shot the eluded Montreal Keeper Evan Bush — but also eluded the goal, rolling a couple of feet wide of the far post.
At the 35th-minute mark, Montreal left back Donny Toia would test United goalkeeper Bill Hamid for the first time, a speculative effort from 25-yards out that Hamid easily parried away. Midfielder Chris Rolfe capped United’s first half efforts off a few minutes from the halftime whistle, chipping an attempt goalward from the right side of the box that was dealt with easily by Bush.
D.C. found the game’s first goal in the 59th minute via a lovely combination between midfielder Davy Arnaud, Rolfe and Arrieta. The former Impact man fed Rolfe at the midfield stripe, Rolfe played a looping ball to Arrieta, hitting him in stride near the top of the box, and the former Crew playmaker tucked his effort just inside the far post from 18-yards out, easily beating Bush.
United nearly doubled up two minutes later on a combination between Arrieta and Pontius — Pontius chested the Costa Rican’s service down and struck it from seven-yards out, an effort that clanged off the underside of the crossbar, missing the goal line by inches.
Montreal came within spitting distance of the equalizer in the 76th minute when defender Hassoun Camara’s point-blank effort was cleared off the goal line by a well-positioned Conor Doyle. The Impact howled for a hand-ball, though the attempt seems to strike Doyle in the chest.
In the 81st, wide man Justin Mapp challenged Hamid again, streaking in towards goal before colliding with the D.C. 'keeper. Mapp appeared badly hurt on the play and was forced to leave the match with an apparent injury to his left arm.
Both teams get an early bye week before meeting their next opponents: D.C. will travel up I-95 to take on the New York Red Bulls on March 22nd while the Impact will take on the New England Revolution a day prior.