MONTREAL — Didier Drogba scored three goals in his second Major League Soccer game as the Montreal Impact defeated the Chicago Fire 4-3 in a wide-open match Saturday night.
The sellout crowd of 20,801 went wild as Drogba, the former Chelsea and Ivory Coast star striker, completed the hat trick with the game-winning goal by heading in his own rebound in the 65th minute.
ESPN stats reported he is the first player to get a hat trick within his first two MLS games.
It was Montreal's first game with Mauro Biello acting as head coach following Frank Klopas' firing earlier this week.
Wandrille Lefevre also scored for Montreal (9-11-4), which ended a four-game winless run and got goals at home for the first time in three games. Montreal moved ahead of Orlando into the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Jeff Larentowicz, on a penalty, Gilberto and Kennedy Igboananike scored for the Fire (7-14-6), who have not won away from home this season.
Drogba, who made his Impact debut with 31 minutes in a 1-0 loss to D.C. United two weeks ago, returned from a toe injury to make his first start.
The moment the crowd was waiting for came in the 27th minute when Nigel Reo-Coker lofted a cross into the box where Drogba brought it down, brushed defender Eric Gehrig aside and slammed in his first Impact goal.
Nine minutes later, Maxim Tissot tripped Harry Shipp and Fire captain Larentowicz made no mistake on the penalty.
Montreal went ahead again when Lefevre headed the ball in at the far side from Marco Donadel's corner in the 43rd, but less than a minute later, Glberto equalized when he stepped in front of Lefevre and redirected Kennedy Igboananike's pass.
Igboananike leaped over a crowd to head in a goal in the 59th, but then Drogba went to work.
Ignacio Piatti played a free kick quickly to put the 37-year-old in alone to equalize in the 61st minute.
Four minutes later, Calum Mallace slipped a pass across the box. Drogba's volley was stopped by Sean Johnson, but the rebound went up in the air and he headed it home.
Johnson made spectacular stops on Andre Romero, Justin Mapp and Piatti to keep the score close.
Saputo Stadium was quieter than usual during play in the first half as the Impact's main supporters group protested a one-game ban on flags. The team had been warned by the league after fans set off fireworks in the seats during their last home game. The venue was aroar after the intermission with the flurry of goals and chances.
The Fire's bus arrived at Saputo Stadium less than an hour before the match after being caught in traffic caused by a One Direction concert next door at Olympic Stadium.
Montreal was missing defenders Laurent Ciman, Ambroise Oyongo and Eric Miller and midfielders Johan Venegas and Kyle Bekker to international duty while Chicago was without striker David Accam and fullbacks Matt Polster and Joevin Jones.
Impact defender Victor Crabrera served a one-game suspension while captain Patrice Bernier sat out with a heel injury.
Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press