MONTREAL - After going winless in its last three games in all competitions, the Montreal Impact returned to winning ways Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 win against the Chicago Fire in front of 19,773 fans at Saputo Stadium.
For the first time this season, Impact coach Marco Schällibaum decided to use a formation different from the 4-1-4-1 setup which had served the Impact well in the first four games of the season. Against the Fire, Schällibaum opted for a 4-4-2, with the major difference being newcomer Daniele Paponi starting in the attack with the Impact's leading scorer Marco Di Vaio.
The change paid dividends as Paponi would assist on Di Vaio's fourth goal of the season in the 76th minute – his fourth of the season – which doubled the Impact’s advantage in the game.
In the press conference following the match, Schallibaum explained that he was pleased with the performance of his attacking pairing.
“Yes [its promising], we saw that they created a lot of chances,” said Schällibaum. “As a coach you need to be flexible, especially when you have a lot of players in the side. Paponi picked up some cramps in the first five minutes, but he picked himself up well after that, played the whole game and it’s all very promising for the future”.
Paponi, who signed with the Impact only a week ago, said he was happy with his first start and didn’t imagine he would get a chance to play with his new team so quickly.
“The whole team played a good game,” Paponi told Goal in Italian. “We deserved to win the game and we did well to do so. If I’m honest, I wasn’t expecting to start games so quickly. So I’m really happy about that and we have to continue to play like how we did today".
Di Vaio played with Paponi during their time at Bologna in Serie A and the 36-year-old felt the two performed well in their first game back together.
“Considering that we haven’t played together for some time, I thought we did pretty well and we know that we can do even better,” Di Vaio told Goal in Italian. “The field wasn’t great, and for a team like ours that likes to play offensive it’s not ideal but we controlled the game. We played with authority”.
Argentinian midfielder Andres Romero, who scored the opening goal of the game in the 57th minute and his first since joining the Impact in Feburary, explained that he too benefitted from the tactical change.
“Having Di Vaio and Paponi up front opened up corridors for me to maneuver in and gave me more options to pass to as well,” Romero said in Spanish.
Schällibaum concluded the press conference by saying that he wasn’t yet sure whether or not he would continue with the new formation, but that he was very happy about having new added alternatives.