SPORTS

Toia's first MLS goal leads Impact over Orlando for fourth straight home win

06/20/2015 10:07 EDT | Updated 06/20/2016 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - Donny Toia isn't used to being the centre of media attention after games, but it was hard to avoid after scoring his first Major League Soccer goal.

The Montreal left back headed in Marco Donadel's corner kick in the 36th minute to start the Impact on a 2-0 victory over Orlando City in a game they mostly controlled on Saturday night.

"I just made a near post run, got away from my defender and it was a great ball in," said the 23-year-old acquired from the defunct Chivas USA. "I just got my head on it."

Veteran Nigel Reo-Coker was more expansive about Toia, one of several Impact players who excelled before a roaring crowd of 17,820 at Saputo Stadium. They saw the home team stifle Orlando star and former FIFA player of the year Kaka with one of their most thorough two-way performances of the season.

"He's been our most consistent player," Reo-Coker said of Toia. "He's one of the most underrated players in the league.

"For me, he's the best left back in the league. He doesn't get enough credit."

The entire back line, led by centreback and Belgian international Laurent Ciman at the top of his game, excelled as the Impact (5-5-2) posted a fifth win in their last seven games and a fourth in a row at home.

Dominic Oduro, a 67th minute substitute who was returning from a groin injury, added a goal in stoppage time.

Expansion Orlando (5-6-5), who earned a 2-2 draw in Montreal in their first meeting in March, ended a five-game unbeaten run.

Toia lunged forward to head the corner kick just under the bar for his first in two MLS campaigns.

The goal came three minutes after Orlando goalie Tally Hall's spectacular diving save on a low Ignacio Piatti drive from the edge of the area.

Cristian Higuita had a chance to tie it in the 41st but saw his blast go just over the bar.

Oduro, who replaced Jack McInerney to add speed to the counterattack with Orlando pressing for a late goal, took his own rebound off a defender and scored in the final minute of play.

The Impact, coming off a 3-1 defeat last week against New York City, have six games against Eastern Conference opponents in June. So far they have three wins and a loss, with games to come Wednesday at Toronto FC and Saturday in Philadelphia.

"It was a much-needed win," said coach Frank Klopas. "I give it to our fans for pushing our guys.

"If we were a little better in transitions and making the final pass we could have had more."

The Impact had several chances in the second half. Fans howled for a penalty when Piatti's shot hit defender Sean St. Ledger's arm in the 59th, but referee Edvin Jurisevic correctly let it go.

Orlando mounted a push in the final 15 minutes but the defence and goalie Evan Bush closed the door.

Canadian Cyle Larin, the top pick in the MLS SuperDraft, had a good chance seven minutes in but deflected Brek Shea's feed just over the goal. He had another chance in the 54th, but fired just wide.

Orlando lost central defence anchor Aurelien Collin early in the second half when he limped off after a knock and was replaced by Seb Hines.

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