WASHINGTON - Holding the lead on the road is beginning to be a problem for the Montreal Impact.
Impact forward Bernardo Corradi's 68th minute goal was cancelled out by D.C. United striker Maicon Santos' goal five minutes later in a 1-1 draw Wednesday night.
Despite a failure to hold the lead, the draw did mark the expansion team's first point away from home in Major League Soccer, a positive for head coach Jesse Marsch.
"We'll take the point," said Marsch. "We're making steps, we all know that, we feel that within our team. Having the lead on the road, now trying to figure out how to lock that down and protect the lead is going to be the next step."
Early scoring chances were limited, although Montreal (1-5-2) threatened in flurries during the first half. Davy Arnaud had a good look at goal in the 22nd minute when Justin Mapp played the captain into space on the right, but Arnaud fizzed his shot over the crossbar.
D.C. (2-2-3) came close in the 35th minute when Canadian international Dwayne De Rosario danced through the Montreal back line and unleashed a shot that failed to test Impact goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
The pressure from D.C. continued after the break, with Ricketts coming up big to deny De Rosario on a pair of early scoring opportunities. If not for the saves by Ricketts the first ten minutes of the second half could have proved costly.
"We were flat at the start of the second half for whatever reason," Marsch said. "And I think they came out with more energy, they probably weren't happy with the way their first half went."
After recovering from that stretch, Montreal nearly took the lead in the 67th minute. After nice interplay in the midfield, Collen Warner found Arnaud streaking behind D.C.'s back line on the left wing.
Arnaud's one-time pass found the feet of Corradi, only for his deflected shot to go wide.
Corradi struck just a minute later. Mapp picked out the run of substitute Lamar Neagle on the right flank, and his curled cross found Corradi alone at the far post where Corradi headed the ball past D.C. goalkeeper Joe Willis.
After Warner missed a chance to double the Impact's lead, D.C. struck back through Santos. Given space on the ball left footed, he took a speculative drive from 20 yards away that eluded a sprawling Ricketts and settled into the bottom corner.
Arnaud nearly found a late winner for Montreal, firing just wide after a corner kick wasn't properly cleared in the 87th minute.
"I just pulled it a little bit wide," he said. "It was kind of in the middle of my body, it was a little awkward, you want to do better in that situation, you want to hit the target. I'd like to have it back."
D.C. then almost snatched the win minutes later. Santos poked home a De Rosario cross but the offside flag was up, and Montreal held on to secure its first point in league play.