The scoring started early as centerback Josh Williams struck on a set piece in the seventh minute on an assist from Wil Trapp.
Montreal (9-11-3, 30 points) equalized before halftime on a set piece of its own, in near identical fashion. Centerback Zakaria Diallo scored on a corner kick sent in by Saphir Taider.
Clearly frustrated by the Impact goal, Crew coach Caleb Porter said at halftime his team was playing zone defense when they should’ve been playing man-to-man. The Crew also lost Waylon Francis just before halftime to injury, as fullback depth continues to be an issue for the squad.
”I got after a few guys at halftime. They took it the right way,” Porter said, “I never get after guys in a negative way. It’s more about bringing the most out of guys. As I gain more and more trust with them, I’ll continue to raise the bar and the standard of what I expect.”
The passion Porter showed as he left the field translated into a quick second-half start as David Accam scored less than a minute into the second half. Accam was originally flagged as offside, but it was overturned by Video Review to five the Crew the lead. Pedro Santos and Hector Jimenez had the assists.
“I knew I was on,” Accam said. “I timed the run really well. When I scored, even when the ref whistled for offside, I was still confident it would be overturned because I knew I had a good run.”
The Crew benefitted from another officiating decision in the 55th minute when Bacary Sagna was sent off on a straight red card for denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity for taking own Accam from behind.
Despite playing the majority of the second half up a man and a goal, the Crew struggled to create more chances. Gyasi Zardes had two looks in front of net that were sent over the crossbar. The team only had one shot on target while holding a man advantage.
Jul 20, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Crew SC team members before the game against the Montreal Impact at MAPFRE Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Still, Columbus (6-14-3, 21 points) held on for the win, their first since May 8. Desperate to climb up the Eastern Conference table, where they’re closer to the bottom than the playoff line, every point matters going forward for the Crew.
New signing Eloy Room made his debut in goal, making a diving save in the first half that stopped a dangerous Montreal attack. That proved to be the only save he needed to make on the night.
Columbus begins a two-game road stretch before returning home on August 10 for the first ever MLS game against in-state rival FC Cincinnati.