Swiss star Dzemaili shines as Impact shut out D.C. United

Sportsnet Central Montreal discuss the refereeing in the Canadian Championship between the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC and a discussion on the full findings of the 2014 Garcia report.

MONTREAL — Chris Duvall isn’t known for his goal-scoring abilities. That’s why the defender’s impeccable finish was cause for added celebration.

Duvall doubled Montreal’s lead in the first half as the Impact downed D.C. United 2-0 in MLS action on Saturday.

The defender was briefly transformed into a striker in the 23rd minute after he got on the end of a perfect pass from midfielder Blerim Dzemaili. Duvall then rushed towards the frenzied crowd, throwing his arms up in the air triumphantly after finishing the play.

"That’s just the result of someone who doesn’t score much being really excited about it," said Duvall of his celebration. "I’m not a guy who’s used to scoring goals but it’s an added bonus to get a goal and the shut out."

The 25-year-old Duvall got the play going, laying off a pass to Dzemaili in midfield. But rather than peeling back, Duvall kept running towards goal. The Swiss midfielder Dzemaili then faked a shot from distance before chipping it to the streaking Duvall, who slid in the box and gently tapped the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

"I wouldn’t say we worked on that specific play," said Duvall. "But I know that when you give him the ball anywhere in that specific area, if he doesn’t shoot, he’ll play a good pass. I had an easy job to do when he puts the ball there.

"You learn through playing with him that there’s no excuse to stop your run."

The goal was Duvall’s first of the season and second of his MLS career. His only other goal was more than two years ago while he played for the New York Red Bulls.

"I’m happy for him because he works so hard," said coach Mauro Biello of Duvall. "It’s nice to see players who work hard get rewarded. Every game he gives his all. For him to score that goal was fantastic. Great pass by Blerim but it wasn’t easy finishing it."

Dzemaili opened the scoring two minutes earlier with a shot from about 25 yards out. D.C. United goalkeeper Travis Worra had no chance.

Montreal (5-5-6), which snapped a five-game winless streak in all competitions, jumped from 11th to eighth in the Eastern Conference with the victory.

D.C. United (5-10-3), which has not won on the road in five games, slipped into last place in the East.

Ben Olsen’s men have scored a league-worst 12 goals in 18 games this season. D.C. has failed to score in its last four MLS road games.

The visitors took 19 shots in the game but only two of those were on target.

"The effort was there," said Olsen. "Unfortunately it’s the same story for us right now. We can’t make plays in the offensive end. Defensively we can get a little better, but this is the same as last week. We have to make plays.

"There’s just this final will or hunger or quality that’s missing."

Montreal kept a clean sheet for just the third time this season.

Though the home side gave up 19 shots, defender Hassoun Camara was pleased with the backline’s performance.

"It wasn’t an easy game," said Camara. "It wasn’t our best game, but we had the right attitude. It bodes well for the future."

Montreal was without Ignacio Piatti (adductor injury). Also missing from the lineup were captain Patrice Bernier and forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel, who are on international duty with the Canadian national team for the upcoming Gold Cup.

The visitors were missing U.S. international goalkeeper Bill Hamid for that same reason.

Notes: Montreal is unbeaten in its last six games versus D.C. (4-0-2).

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