SPORTS

Romero brace, Ciman goal lift Impact over Salt Lake 4-1 for first MLS win

05/16/2015 06:01 EDT | Updated 05/16/2016 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - Getting a first win of the Major League Soccer season was a relief for the Montreal Impact.

The Impact (1-3-2) scored three times in the first half enroute to a 4-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday. Perhaps more importantly, they didn't go to pieces when Real's Devon Sandoval scored in the opening minutes after the intermission.

It left them wanting more.

"It's not so much the goals, it was how well we played as a team," said fullback Nigel Reo-Coker. "That's what we want to do for the rest of the season.

"This is a new beginning for us. We had a team meeting in the dressing room before the game and we said 'no matter who we're playing against, we're at our best when we're playing high tempo, attacking football.' "

Laurent Ciman scored on a rare set-piece goal for Montreal and Andres Romero added two more in a dominant first half. After Sandoval scored, the Impact regrouped and got a late goal from Dilly Duka to seal the win.

The Impact are still getting over their run to the CONCACAF Champions League final, which ended two weeks ago with a loss to Mexican giant America before 61,004 at Olympic Stadium.

Now they are refocused on MLS play. They finished last in the league in 2014, and are still in last spot, although with games in hand.

They responded with an impressive win, although a tough test awaits next Saturday when Western Conference leading FC Dallas visits Montreal.

"We have to be the team that everyone's talking about, and we do that by playing like that and winning games," added Reo-Coker.

Struggling Salt Lake (3-3-5) ended a five-game winless run last week with a 2-1 victory at Chicago but couldn't make it two in a row.

"Losing the ball in bad areas of the field leaves you exposed defensively and they don't have to go very far to score," said Salt Lake coach Jeff Cassar. "We seemed to do that for the first 45 minutes of that game.

"Second half I thought was better for a good period, and then again, we got a little stretched out, a little tired, and got exposed."

Only 12,158 turned out to Saputo Stadium on a wet day to see the Montreal attack's breakout game. With assistant Mauro Biello filling in for suspended head coach Frank Klopas, the Impact scored more than two goals in a game for the first time in 25 matches since last June.

Only 18 minutes in, Ciman volleyed home a corner from Marco Donadel for the Belgian's first MLS goal. Ignacio Piatti chipped a pass over the defence for Romero to lob over Nick Rimando in the 20th minute.

Nine minutes later, Romero scored on a rebound. There was a chance in the 43rd, but Piatti hit a post. Rimando has kept out 10 of the last 14 penalties he faced.

"The first half was probably the best soccer we've played this year as a team," said Mallace.

Salt Lake, which faced its worst intermission deficit since 2011 at D.C. United, struck back two minutes into the second. Luis Gil bulled the ball into the Montreal area and Sandoval's left-footed chip sailed over Evan Bush and inside the far post.

Substitutes Eric Alexander and Jack McInerney combined on a play that saw Duka score into an open side in the 78th.

Notes — Dominic Oduro left in the second half with a right leg injury. The Impact were already without Kenny Cooper, Donny Toia, Victor Cabrera, Hassoun Camara, Justin Mapp and Cameron Porter. . . Defender Ambroise Oyongo, who was acquired in January but only reported this week, was not in the lineup. . . Opponents are only 43 for 68 all-time on penalties against Rimando.

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