When Montreal Impact midfielder Sanna Nyassi tracked back deep in his end to pick up the ball early in Sunday’s second half, he saw one thing.
“There was a lot of room,” Nyassi said. “When I saw that there was a lot of room, I was like, I’m going to go at them.”
The Gambian did just that, producing a stunning 75-yard solo run to score the game’s only goal and hand the Montreal Impact a 1-0 away win over the New England Revolution.
Nyassi accelerated through midfield, shimmied past Revolution defender A.J. Soares and stuck a thunderous effort past goalkeeper Matt Reis from the edge of the penalty area in the 61st minute to provide a lead that he and his teammates would not relinquish.
“I think we all wish were blessed with Sanna’s speed,” Impact midfielder Davy Arnaud said after Nyassi’s fifth goal of the season. “He certainly used it there. That’s a big time play he made for us. It was pretty.”
It was one of the game’s few inspiring moments as the Impact, stripped of the injured Alessandro Nesta and the suspended Nelson Rivas, relied on their retooled back line and a resolute defensive shape to frustrate a Revolution side lacking imagination and precision in the final third.
It was only the second away victory of the season for sixth-place Montreal (10-13-3), who moves closer to a playoff spot. The club is three points away from the last berth, but has played four more games than fifth-place D.C. United.
Meanwhile, New England (6-12-5) is now 0-5-1 in its last six matches, with a playoff berth slowly slipping away.
Recently-acquired goalkeeper Troy Perkins offered a calming presence behind his teammates in his first game since arriving from Portland. He leaned on his goal frame to keep out first-half efforts from Chris Tierney and Saer Sene and palmed away Sene’s second-half header to ensure his first match as an Impact player ended with a shutout.
“It was fantastic,” Perkins said. “It shows you that the team is in a good place. The staff’s done an exceptional job with them and the guys are willing to do whatever it takes to win.”
Montreal’s collective display of grit and organization against the Revolution extended its current winning streak to three matches.
More of the same will be required to push through a pair of tricky home matches against league-leading San Jose and D.C. United over the next two weekends, but Nyassi said this precious road victory could help to fuel the Impact’s playoff push.
“We want to keep that going,” Nyassi said. “Now we have a couple of games at home. We want to make sure that we get maximum points from all of those games and be in the right spot for the playoffs.”