MONTREAL — It hasn’t been often this season that the Montreal Impact could say they played well at both ends of the field.
So putting up three goals and keeping a clean sheet felt good for the Impact, who used two goals from Ignacio Piatti plus an own goal to defeat Orlando City 3-0 on Wednesday night.
It was only the second win in the last seven games for Montreal (5-11), but a second straight at home, while Orlando (6-8-1) lost a sixth game in a row.
It’s also the first of back-to-back games between the Eastern Conference clubs, with the rematch June 23 in Orlando.
Fullback Daniel Lovitz called it "amazing" to score three after bagging only one goal in the Impact’s previous six outings.
"We’re not going to tell ourselves we’re the best team in the league or anything, but we know that there were glaring issues we needed to address and a lot of them weren’t there tonight and that’s an important step for us," said Lovitz. "Especially in the context that we’re playing them again the next game and this game kind of played into that.
"It was important to get points off of them."
Piatti, who looked fresh after sitting out a 2-0 loss in Dallas on Saturday due to some muscle pain, ended a five-goal scoring drought with his sixth and seventh goals of the season.
Coach Remi Garde noted how the team is better with Piatti in top form, and he was also pleased that his defence looks to be taking shape with Frenchmen Rod Fanni and Rudy Camacho as the centrebacks. The 36-year-old Fanni was especially sharp against Orlando’s dangerous attack.
"Football is about confidence and this was the kind of game that builds confidence," said Garde, adding that Camacho needed time both to adapt to Major League Soccer and to recover from a recent injury to start showing his quality. He joined the Impact after the season started from the Belgian league.
"I thought he benefited from a good game by Rod at his side and he also played well," said Garde.
Piatti made no mistake from the spot only five minutes in after Saphir Taider was tripped by Cristian Higuita in the penalty area. The foul came amid heavy pressure on the Orlando defence, including a close-range blast from Raheem Edwards that was stopped by Joe Bendik.
Heavy rain through most of the first half didn’t prevent Orlando from creating some close calls, with Higuita just missing the left post with a low shot in the 35th and Dom Dywer firing just over the bar on a free kick from 20 yards in the 44th.
The Impact had the pressure on again after the intermission and it produced a second goal as Piatti fed Daniel Lovitz on the left side for a cross that went in off sliding defender Amro Tarek for an own goal in the 55th.
Orlando had more close calls late, including Oriol Rosell’s blast off a corner kick that was stopped by Evan Bush.
Piatti was sent in alone by Lovitz, dribbled past Bendik, and scored and scored in added time.
Impact midfielder Jeisson Vargas was replaced in the 33rd minute with a left knee injury by Ken Krolicki.
Montreal defender Jukka Raitala was back after helping Finland win a friendly over Belarus on Saturday and played as a late substitute. Rudy Camacho and Rod Fanni formed the central defence for a second straight game, while Raheem Edwards took over from Alejandro Silva on right wing.
Orlando was without defender Mohamed El-Munir, who served a one-game suspension after being ejected from a 5-2 loss in Vancouver on Saturday. The Lions ended a three-game road stretch.