The game in 100 words (or less): Who does Mauro Biello, head coach of the Montreal Impact, think he is deciding that Didier Drogba was to be nothing more than an impact substitute down the stretch of the regular season? A very, very smart man, based on the early return from summer signing Matteo Mancosu since signing in July (3 goals, 4 assists in 7 starts/15 appearances), and the Italian’s stunning winner against the New York Red Bulls in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday. Patrice Bernier and Marco Donadel turned in central-midfield performances for the ages, effectively nullifying the Red Bulls’ dynamic trio of Dax McCarty, Felipe and Sacha Kljestan, and manufacturing the majority of chances gone the Impact’s way. Biello’s side will take their narrow advantage into next Sunday’s second leg at Red Bull Arena, with a largely unexpected chance of ousting the hottest team in the league down the stretch (16 games unbeaten in MLS; 20 games across all competitions).
Three Four moments that mattered
3′ — BWP tries to chip Bush, to no avail — We’ve seen Bradley Wright-Phillips embarrass a fair few goalkeepers with delicate chips over their head and into the back of the net, but it seems MLS’s ‘keepers union has caught on.
52′ — Felipe smashes the crossbar with a free kick — Given the Red Bulls’ profilific scoring record at home (36 goals in 17 games – most in MLS), an away would have just about put the tie away.
61′ — Mancosu’s volley is a stunner, make it 1-0 — The ball from Donadel is pinpoint, but it’s just another inconsequential pass without Mancosu’s spectacular finish.
92′ — BWP shanks a put-back wide of the post — The last player in MLS you’d expect to waste a chance like this.
Men of the match: Patrice Bernier
Goalscorers: Mancosu (61′)