Home turf is a happy place for Marco Di Vaio.
The veteran striker scored his 10th goal of the Major League Soccer season Wednesday in a 2-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo.
“I’m happy to score, but I want to score more,” said Di Vaio, who has recorded all but one of his goals at home. “But the important thing is we’re creating chances.”
Felipe Martins also scored as the Eastern Conference-leading Impact (9-3-2) improved to 6-0-1 at Saputo Stadium and won a fourth in a row at home.
Houston (6-5-4) is winless in its last five (0-3-2).
The crowd of 17,694 saw the Impact in full attack mode as they created chance after chance against a Houston side missing some key players before switching to a more defensive game in the second half.
“The first 35 minutes was probably the best we’ve played this season,” said Di Vaio.
That followed perhaps their worse performance when they lost 2-0 in Columbus on Saturday night.
“I knew the team was ready to respond,” said Impact coach Marco Schallibaum, who was back after serving a one-game suspension for arguing a call in a 2-1 win in Kansas City on June 1.
“Especially in the first half it was amazing to see the team. There were a lot of chances and very nice football. We were less good in the second, but we were very solid defensively.”
Daniele Paponi missed two good chances in the first eight minutes and had another called offside.
Only 13 minutes in, Patrice Bernier sent a clever pass over the defence and Felipe chested it down before scoring his third of the season.
The Dynamo wasted a glorious chance to tie it in the 20th minute when Matteo Ferrari was called for a late tackle in the area on Will Bruin. But Englishman Giles Barnes’ hooked the ball from the penalty spot well over the net.
Then it was Corey Ashe’s turn to misfire as he shanked an attempt to play the ball back to Houston goalie Tally Hall in the 32nd. Di Vaio ran it down, went in alone and calmly chipped it home.
Houston had a good chance after a free kick in the 58th, but Warren Creavalle’s left footed shot went just over the bar.
“There are ups and downs in every season, but for us it’s a matter of starting games better,” said Houston veteran Brian Ching. “They took the game to us for the first 25 minutes or so, but I thought we did well to create some opportunities after that.
“The difference was that they finished their chances and we didn’t.”
Di Vaio had the crowd on its feet in the 62nd as he headed Nyassi’s pass off the bar, then recovered the ball but shot just wide.
“Di Vaio works very hard and for his age, he’s very fit,” Schallibaum said of the 36-year-old. “He could have scored two or three more..
“He’s like Alessandro Nesta. He’s an asset for us. The young players learn from him.”
The 37-year-old Nesta also returned from a one-game ban to take back his spot in the central defence. The Impact have not lost a game that the former AC Milan star has started.
The crowd booed when Ching subbed in for Barnes in the 78th. Ching was claimed by Montreal in the 2012 expansion draft but asked to be dealt back to Houston.
Notes: Houston was missing two players to international duty, Honduran Boniek Garcia and American Brad Davis. ... Montreal made four changes after their loss in Columbus over the weekend. Paponi and Andrea Pisanu started, while Sanna Nyassi was back from playing for Gambia. Alessandro Nesta returned from a one-game suspension. Justin Mapp sat out with a thigh injury.