Piatti, Impact down FC Dallas 2-1 for back-to-back victories

MONTREAL — Midfielder Ignacio Piatti scored and added an assist to lead the Montreal Impact to a 2-1 victory over visiting FC Dallas in MLS action on Saturday.

After Piatti scored from the penalty spot in the 25th minute, Jack McInerney added a second shortly after halftime for the team’s second consecutive victory.

With the win, the Impact (2-3-2) climbed out of the Eastern Conference basement.

Defender Matt Hedges scored for Dallas (6-3-3) late in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to keep the team’s five-game unbeaten run alive.

McInerney scored the winner in the 50th minute of play, firing home his second goal of the season after Piatti laid the ball off right on the edge of the 18-yard-box.

Montreal had not won back-to-back games in MLS since Aug. 17 and Aug. 24, 2013.

An early goal for the visiting side looked inevitable, though.

FC Dallas’ most dangerous players, midfielder Fabian Castillo and forward Mauro Diaz, combined several times in the game’s first 20 minutes, but Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush got the final word on each occasion.

Dallas’ best chance of the first half came in the 12th minute when Castillo ran the length of the pitch, beating three Impact players in the process, only to see his left-footed shot stopped by Bush.

But it was Montreal that took a surprising lead.

After Dallas’ incessant pressure, Andres Romero earned the penalty kick that led to Piatti’s goal. Romero beat Hedges in the penalty box before being brought down by defender Moises Hernandez.

Though he missed a penalty Montreal’s last time out, Piatti made no mistake from the spot, slotting home past goalkeeper Ian Kennedy for his second goal of the year.

Up 2-0 after McInerney scored, Montreal looked to put the game to bed.

Piatti came close to scoring again in the 52nd minute but he put his shot over the crossbar. In the 74th, McInerney’s left-footed strike from inside the area missed wide.

Those misses opened the door for FC Dallas as Hedges reduced the deficit in the 77th. And the visiting side came dangerously close to tying the contest in the game’s final minutes.

Blas Perez forced Bush to make a dramatic diving save in the 88th. In stoppage time, Perez’s shot went just wide of the post.

Notes: Defender Bakary Soumare reached 10,000 minutes in his MLS career. … Piatti was wearing the captain’s armband for Montreal. … The Impact have played, on average, four fewer games than their opponents. … After months of messy contract negotiations, international Ambroise Oyongo of Cameroon made his first start for Montreal at left back.

Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press

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