Novillo scores first-ever MLS goal leading Impact to victory in home opener

Harry Novillo scored his first goal in Major League Soccer to lead Montreal to a 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew in the Impact’s home opener Saturday afternoon.

Evan Bush made five saves for his third consecutive clean sheet for the Impact (3-2-2), who are unbeaten in their last three games.

Montreal was coming off scoreless draws against New York City FC and D.C. United on the road.

Goalkeeper Zack Steffen made six saves for the Crew (4-2-1), who began the day atop the Eastern Conference.

After starting the season with six consecutive road games, Montreal played its first match at Saputo Stadium before 18,634 fans on a warm but windy afternoon.

It was the Impact’s third game in eight days.

Montreal broke a scoreless tie when Novillo scored his first goal in an Impact uniform in the 55th minute following sloppy play at the back from Columbus.

The play started when striker Maxi Urruti intercepted a soft headed pass from Josh Williams to Jonathan Mensah. Urruti took two strides towards the net, stopped, then fed Novillo for the powerful strike from 18 yards out into the bottom corner of the net.

Urruti leads Montreal with three assists this season.

The goal put an end to Steffen’s 499-minute shutout streak.

It was a rare defensive breakdown for the Crew, who came into the contest having recorded a league-high four shutouts and allowed a conference-low four goals.

Columbus nearly tied it in the 70th minute when Robinho’s header was cleared off the goal line and straight on to the crossbar by Impact defender Daniel Lovitz. The ball never fully crossed the line before Bush punched it away from his net.

Montreal earned its first victory of the season without midfielder Ignacio Piatti, who missed his fourth straight game with a knee injury. Piatti was injured in the Impact’s 3-1 victory against Orlando City on Mar. 16.

Columbus had the best chances in the first half.

Bush made saves in close on Federico Higuain in the 22nd minute and another on Robinho in the 27th. The Crew came close again in the 39th minute when Gyasi Zardes’s shot curled just wide of the post to Bush’s left.

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