If there is a team and player in MLS that gives the Montreal Impact headaches, it is the Columbus Crew and Dominic Oduro.
The Impact looked to be cruising to a win after Marco Di Vaio’s goal in the 23rd minute when the crafty Federico Higuain went to work, setting up a pair of second-half goals in the Crew’s 2-1 comeback victory on Saturday afternoon.
Defender Chad Marshall and striker Dominic Oduro scored for Columbus, which has been a thorn in Montreal’s side this season.
The Crew, who handed the Impact only their second home loss of the season, won the season series with Montreal 2-0-1, taking five of six points at Saputo Stadium.
Impact coach Marco Schallibaum uses the French term “bete noire” to describe Columbus, which his players know means nemesis.
“It’s football — you always have a bete noire,” said Schallibaum. “It’s very hard to explain.”
This one was straightforward. The Impact wasted several chances to make it a 2-0 game, and pushed so hard for a second goal that they left themselves open for talent like Higuain to make them pay.
The first was a smartly curled free kick that found Marshall’s head on the left side of the penalty area in the 66th minute to tie the game.
The second came after Justin Mapp lost the ball in the midfield and Higuain sent a perfect pass that the onrushing Oduro got a toe on in the 79th.
“It’s difficult to explain, but every time we play against Columbus it’s a difficult game for us,” said Impact defender Matteo Ferrari. “We started well.
“In the second half, we were in control and also had some chances. It was important to score the second goal and we didn’t. They got the second goal with a mistake in the midfield and then it was difficult to come back.”
The game-winner was Oduro’s 10th of the season, including one in each game against Montreal.
“It looks like I have their number, but at the end of the day, we just played well,” said Dominic Oduro. “We wanted to get a result and we did. We played well and made it happen.”
Now the Crew hope to put a streak together to try to climb back into the playoff hunt. They are on the tail of Chicago, Houston and England for fifth place and final a post-season berth.
“This was critical to our goal of getting a playoff spot,” said Bliss. “Now we’ve put some pressure on some teams that are ahead of us.”
© 2013 The Globe and Mail, ESPN