Soccer

Johnson's goal in 84th sends United to draw with Impact

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The Canadian Press
5/17/2014 11:54:30 PM
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WASHINGTON -- Troy Perkins wasn't overly pleased with the Montreal Impact's 1-1 draw at D.C. United on Saturday.

"We're not happy," Perkins said. "We're not sad."

That was the consensus in Montreal's locker-room after United forward Eddie Johnson's 84th-minute strike negated a goal from red-hot Impact striker Jack McInerney at RFK Stadium.

While Montreal (1-5-4) regretted giving up the lead, a point on the road on short rest gave the Impact reason for optimism as they try to escape the Eastern Conference cellar.

The Impact were playing just three days after a 4-2 win over FC Edmonton, which earned them a berth in the Canadian Championship final. Montreal's most recent league outing was a 3-0 home loss to Sporting Kansas City last weekend.

"It felt a little bit like a disappointment, but it's something to build on," Impact coach Frank Klopas said. "It was a question mark with some of the guys, playing midweek and a lot of travel, so it was good to see the effort that they put in as a whole."

For McInerney, the 56th-minute goal was his fourth in his past four games in all competitions, and his fifth overall since joining the Impact in an April 4 trade from the Philadelphia Union.

Stealing a bad first touch off the foot of United left back Cristian Fernandez, Impact winger Justin Mapp raced down the right side, cut inside and found McInerney in front for the simple finish.

With 2013 MVP finalist Marco Di Vaio (20 goals last season) sidelined by a hamstring injury in recent weeks, McInerney has proven to be a more-than-viable backup plan.

"That's a striker for you," Klopas said. "Every two, three games, you want a guy that's going to score. He's been doing that, so that's something that's very positive. He's always around the goal, and that's a very good sign."

It was the third assist of a McInerney goal for Mapp, who played with him in Philadelphia from 2010 to 2011.

"He (Mapp) is getting the ball in good spots and making it easy for me, so hopefully we can keep it going," McInerney said.

United (4-3-3) enjoyed 57 per cent of the possession and twice struck the crossbar, while Montreal created a myriad of chances of its own.

Speedy winger Sanna Nyassi found himself repeatedly denied by stellar stops from United goalkeeper Bill Hamid. When one of Nyassi's rebounds fell to McInerney, the striker's second strike was denied by diving United right back Chris Korb.

"That's the best we've played -- possession, buildup, defending well," Perkins said.

Johnson rose to nod home a Fabian Espindola cross at the far post with six minutes remaining. The goal was the first tally since an off-season trade from the Seattle Sounders for Johnson, who was snubbed this week from the U.S. national team's preliminary World Cup roster.

The combination of Wednesday's win over Edmonton and Saturday's road draw left the Impact feeling positive heading into a trip to face the Colorado Rapids next Saturday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

"At the end of the day, if we want to make a little run into the playoffs, we need to put those chances away," McInerney said. "It should have been 2-, 3-0. But I think we came in and we surprised a lot of people, so we'll take the point and move on."

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