Pedro Santos’ goal lifts D.C. United over CF Montreal

Mar 30, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; CF Montreal midfielder Dominic Iankov (8) runs with the ball as D.C. United defender Conner Antley (12) and D.C. United defender Lucas Bartlett (3) defend during the first half an at Audi Field. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Pedro Santos scored on a ferocious half volley in the 85th minute to lift D.C. United to a 1-0 victory over visiting CF Montreal on Saturday night.

The goal came on a night when D.C.’s top scorer, Christian Benteke, uncharacteristically failed to convert several quality chances.

The Black-and-Red (2-1-3, 9 points) got their first victory since a 3-1 home win over New England on the opening weekend.

Jonathan Sirois made three stops to keep Montreal (2-2-1, 7 points) in the match as it continued a six-match road trip to begin their season.

But this was one of the visitors’ weaker performances so far. They trailed D.C. 21-7 in overall shots and 5-3 in attempts on target.

The reward for D.C.’s superiority finally came in a sequence starting with a throw-in on the right sideline.

Benteke won the initial aerial challenge in the penalty area to keep the ball alive, and then it was only half-cleared by Montreal’s defense.

That’s where Santos met it, running onto the bouncing ball at the edge of the area and hammering a strike beyond Sirois’ dive into the top left corner. It was the 35-year-old’s first goal of the season, coming in his first appearance as a substitute.

D.C. was dominant in the opening half and perhaps unfortunate not to take a lead. Its best chance came in the 24th minute, when Benteke’s header of a cross from the right forced Sirois into a sprawling reflex save.

Montreal’s task appeared to get more difficult when Ramy Touchan initially produced a straight red card for Joel Waterman’s sliding tackle from behind to halt a break by D.C.’s Ted Ku-DiPietro. But Touchan downgraded the offense to a yellow after a video review, a moment that appeared to bring Montreal into the game.

Not long after, Josef Martinez had a good opportunity from about 10 yards out in the 61st minute, but D.C. fullback Aaron Herrera was in good position to clear Martinez’s low shot off the line.

Benteke had another excellent aerial chance in the 82nd minute from a corner kick, but somehow headed wide of the frame from close range.

–Field Level Media

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