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Impact get two from Di Vaio but settle for 2-2 draw with Revolution

10/11/2014 06:07 EDT | Updated 12/11/2014 05:59 EST
MONTREAL - Marco Di Vaio had a feeling when he arrived at Saputo Stadium that something good was going to happen.

And it did, as the 38-year-old striker had two goals to give the Montreal Impact a 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution on Saturday.

Di Vaio, whose retirement at the end of the Major League Soccer season is only two weeks away, clearly wants to go out with a bang.

"It's amazing because the last two or three games, I felt something like when I was younger," Di Vaio said after scoring his seventh and eighth of the season.

Lee Nguyen scored in the 69th minute to give New England the point it needed to clinch a playoff spot for a second year in a row. Kelyn Rowe also scored for New England, which is 7-1-1 in its last nine matches.

A recent Impact ad blitz urges fans to see Di Vaio in the last home games of his stellar career. The Italian did not disappoint, even if only 14,389 turned out to the 20,000-seat stadium .

The Impact play next week at Toronto, then Di Vaio will close his career at home on Oct. 25 against D.C. United. The club hopes to have a full house for the send off for the player who joined in May 2012 as its first designated player.

"I told him we'd sign him for three more years," coach Frank Klopas joked. "That second goal, I thought I was seeing Marco from 20 years ago.

"We talked about finishing strong and trying to get some wins at home for Marco. It's disappointing we didn't get it. We had chances and didn't score and we let them hang in there."

Di Vaio's goals illustrated what Montreal will be losing when he leaves.

On the first, midfielder Calum Mallace made an alert play to loft a pass over the defence. Di Vaio collected the ball and went in alone to score in the 12th minute.

After Kelyn Rowe tied in the 16th, Di Vaio pulled off his master stroke in the 40th, freezing New England captain Jose Goncalves with a head fake and slotting Andres Romero's diagonal pass in off the left post from just inside the penalty area.

"I'm happy because my body is following my mind right now," said Di Vaio. "I'm always motivated.

"When I have a chance to step on the field, I want to score. It's my job. I'm happy for me, but less for the team because we could have won. We deserved to win. We played better and had more chances than them. But it's a tough year for us. Every time we give up a strange goal and it stops us from winning."

The strange goal came from New England's most dangerous forward Nguyen, who chipped a shot that went high off Mallace and dropped behind goalkeeper Evan Bush for his 15th of the season.

It came after Justin Mapp wasted two chances to give the Impact a two-goal lead. First Mapp was stopped on a clear breakaway by Bobby Shuttleworth, then Dilly Duka got him the ball again only to see the shot sail over the bar.

"Overall, it was a good performance, but it's tough," said Mallace. "It feels like a loss, especially on a goal like that, which took a deflection off me."

Di Vaio opted to retire to be with his family, who stayed behind in Italy. He is expected to return to his former club Bologna in some non-playing capacity.

The Rome native has given the Impact full value, including a 20-goal campaign in 2013.

"It's the end of his time and it sums up his career with two amazing goals," added Mallace. "It's been an honour to play with him."

Di Vaio's final season has been rough for the Impact, who got off to a disastrous start and didn't stat to find themselves until August, when it was too late to avoiding missing the MLS playoffs. They salvaged something by reaching the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals.

"We can't go back in time," said Klopas. "But we've learned and got better.

"It's great how we're playing now but it will be a long off-season."

Late in the first half, New England defender A.J. Soares hammered a shot over the bar so hard that it broke a seat in the east end stands.

Notes: Canadian Geoff Gamble was slated to referee, but pulled out with an injury suffered in a friendly match. He was replaced by Armando Villareal. . . The Impact were without fullback Eric Miller, who is with the U.S. U-18 team, and Canadian team selects Issey Nakajima-Farran, Karl Ouimette and Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare. . . Former Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who is to have his jersey retired on Monday, got a standing ovation and a No. 13 Impact shirt in a pre-game introduction. . . Jay Heaps coached his 100th MLS game, all with New England.

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