As time waned on their final group-stage match at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando, it appeared that the Montreal Impact were about to wrap up their third straight victory and advance to the championship game with a perfect record in Group B. Both sides had come out playing their final group match with their first-team rosters starting, and the Impact had given the 2012 Eastern Conference runner-up (in both the regular season standings and the postseason bracket) everything it could possibly handle. Then, five minutes from stoppage time, it was 76th-minute substitute Kyle Porter — a 23-year-old Canadian from FC Edmonton in the NASL who is trying to earn an MLS roster spot with DC United this preseason — rocketed a searing blast that left the final score level at 1-1.
United saw several solid chances squandered in the opening quarter hour, and it was Montreal who scored first in the 16th minute. New midfield import Andrea Pisanu — who arrived in January on a loan from Serie A side Bologna — connected on an overhead kick to befuddle DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid. The goal was struck off a rebound from a cross by fellow Italian veteran Marco Di Vaio, catching Hamid off his line and providing further demonstration of the synergy already being developed between the two MLS Orlando Friendlies: Marco Di Vaio Scores Two More in Montreal Impact Win” href=”http://theamericanpitch.com/2013/02/13/mls-orlando-friendlies-marco-di-vaio-scores-two-more-in-montreal-impact-win/” target=”_blank”>after they also connected on a goal Wednesday against Sporting Kansas City.
DC nearly tied the game four minutes later. Dwayne De Rosario hit a bicycle kick that was parried away by a Montreal defender, only to fall into the path of United’s other forward Lionard Pajoy. The Colombian blasted a shot on goal that somehow was somehow reached by Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins, preventing his former team from equalizing in the match. The two sides would trade opportunities from there, Perry Kitchen’s long-range blast coming close to putting DC level in the 35th minute, but neither side could find the back of the net before halftime.
The second half played out much the same way, the Impact and United going punch for punch on the pitch, almost literally as three yellow cards were issued and numerous other fouls. Chris Pontius missed another long-distance shot for DC United in the 69th minute, and head coach Ben Olsen made wholesale substitutions in the 76th minute. Among them was Porter, the unlikely hero who volleyed home the game-tying goal past Perkins that saved a point for his new side — and might have earned him an MLS contract in the process.