The Fire were finally able to do something against a 10-man squad, short handed squad and breathe a collective sigh of relief following a 1-0 victory in Montreal. Missing David Accam due to injury and Dax McCarty on international duty, the Fire weren't playing with a full roster either and both sides approached this game with a conservative game plan.
Montreal seemed intent on focusing their efforts to pressure and physically challenge Bastian Schweinsteiger at every opportunity and that strategy backfired on them when referee Baldomero Toledo changed a yellow card call on Deian Boldor in the 59th to a straight red after video review. Both teams sat back and looked to play the counter from the start, which made for some difficult watching and very few clear chances.
Schweinsteiger buried his chance nine minutes after Boldor's expulsion and the Fire had another chance two minutes later before the team settled back and claimed their third win of the season on the road.
The victory places them eight points ahead of the seventh place Impact and seems to settle their playoff prospects ahead of another important game against the New York Red Bulls next weekend.
The Fire can exhale for now.
GK Matt Lampson (6) - Only faced two shots on target with the defense able to limit clean looks against Montreal. In the right spot for Piatti's late attempt in stoppage time and cut down on the unforced turnovers.
D Patrick Doody (6) - The Impact's right side provided little going forward with most of the attacking channeling through Piatti on the other side. Limited Romero for most of the time he was on the field.
D Jonathan Campbell (6) - Defending was made easier with the Fire sitting back and looking to counter but the unit did well to limit and challenge most shots.
D Johan Kappelhof (6) - There were some half chances early in the first half for Mancosu but not much else. Kappelhof got a piece of his best look in the 18th minute by deflecting a shot out for a corner kick.
D Matt Polster (6.5) - Got some help from midfield in shutting down the side where Piatti usually does most of his work and contributed with a good run and assist on the only goal of the game.
M Bastian Schweinsteiger (7) - Took a beating as the focus of persistent fouling and kept his cool before a red card was issued to Boldor in the 50th minute. Clean finish in the 59th provided the only goal and the game winner. Set up another good chance with a perfectly placed lead pass to de Leeuw in the 61st.
M Juninho (6) - Helped fill the spaces in the midfield where Piatti does his damage and kept possession when needed. Not spectacular but did was needed and asked for in a conservative game plan that worked.
M Djordje Mihailovic (6) - A few issues with turnovers and a bad touch here or there but his switch to Polster in the 59th led to the goal. Good tackle on Piatti late in the game stopped a chance.
F Luis Solignac (5.5) - Active in the first half but couldn't generate much in the final third. Very little in the second half.
F Michael de Leeuw (6) - A cross in the 61st narrowly missed Nikolic and a second goal. As the Fire dropped back to counter, he helped fill the areas in front of Piatti.
F Nemanja Nikolic (5.5) - Not many chances or looks on goal but a decent cross on the ground in the 27th could have resulted in a goal with a far pot run.
M Drew Conner (5) - Replaced Schweinsteiger in the 79th after he went down with an apparent quad injury.
M Arturo Alvarez (5.5) - Came on in the 90th for Mihailovic and his shot following a loose ball in stoppage time was deflected by Bush and cleared from the line by Fisher.
D Brandon Vincent (5) - Subbed in for Doody in the 89th after he left with an apparent leg injury.