Impact, FC Dallas draw to extend winless streaks
Montreal has not won in 5 games
The sellout crowd at Saputo Stadium must have been wondering where the Montreal Impact's scoring touch went.
It may have been in Italy, where scoring leader Marco Di Vaio had gone home to attend to a family matter, so he missed the Impact's spirited but goalless 0-0 draw with FC Dallas on Saturday night.
Montreal, one of the highest-scoring clubs in Major League Soccer, created chance after chance, but couldn't connect for a goal despite controlling the play and outshooting Dallas 15-6.
Solid defensive play by the visitors' central defence pair of George John and Matt Hedges had played a large role, as well.
"We said we needed to do everything and a little more to win this game and I think that little more was the final runs, the final shots," said Impact defender Jeb Brovsky. "Justin (Mapp) was making some great crosses and we didn't have anyone making that run with conviction in the box."
The failure to score saw both clubs' winless streaks drag on.
Montreal (9-5-5) has gone five games without a victory, while Dallas (8-5-8) has not won since May 25 and is winless in seven — eight if a U.S. Open Cup game is counted.
Di Vaio is among the MLS leaders with 11 goals and his experience and nose for the net was missed as the Impact did everything but score. He is expected back for a home game next Saturday against Kansas City.
The Impact came away happy they played a clean defensive game and dominated play after looking listless and allowing 12 goals against in their four previous games, including a 4-0 loss in New York last week.
"I thought we played very well, first and foremost defensively," said Brovsky. "We all know what we're capable of.
"We started the season the way we want and had little dip in our performance, but I think we're on our way up again. We're happy just to put a zero on the board."
Coach Marco Schallibaum was relieved to see his team play with some passion again.
"We showed very good spirit," he said. "Sometimes you can play for three hours and not score because you're always missing by a few centimetres.
"That's football. That's life."
The Impact drew their first sellout of the season of 20,801, a record at Saputo Stadium where some space was added this year. Despite their roars, Montreal was shut out at home for the first time this season.
The Impact spent much of the first half pressing in the Dallas zone, but nothing clicked. It started with a Sanna Nyassi feed stolen at the last second from Paponi by a defender and a late chance that saw Paponi's shot stopped and Davy Arnaud put the rebound off a defender and out.
Mapp had a go from just outside the box in the 26th but hit the crossbar.
"We'd have liked to get a goal," said Mapp, who was named man of the match. "We were the better team.
"We had a number of chances and half chances, loose balls in the box, but it was one of those nights where we couldn't seem to find the net. Compared to our last few games, we were on top of them, but at the end of the day we got one point and we'll move on."
Brovsky's blast was stopped by Raul Fernandez in the 78th minute and Daniele Paponi dove a split second short of a Sanna Nyassi pass just before both were substituted late in the game.
Montreal had Paponi and Nyassi up front, and later sent in Andrew Wenger and Andres Romero, but none got a foot on the ball at just the right moment, which is Di Vaio's specialty.
"He leads us in goals and we needed a goal," added Mapp. "We'd like to think he would have helped us in that department, but guys fought hard without him. Hopefully, we'll have him back next week."
Dallas had a glittering chance in the 36th minute, when Zach Loyd sent a perfect cross to Kenny Cooper but goalie Troy Perkins was on the spot to gather in the header from 10 yards.
It was a first 0-0 draw of the year for the Impact and a second in four games for Dallas. It was a fifth clean sheet for Perkins.