Marco Di Vaio sprinted in place as the final bars of the U.S. national anthem buzzed over the PPL Park sound system. The Montreal forward's white cleats kicked up mist from the rain-soaked field as his teammates stood still.
Saturday afternoon's 1-1 draw with the Union was Di Vaio's first action in four months. And he could not wait to get started.
Di Vaio made the most of his debut, delivering a heartbreaking equalizer in the 80th minute. It was his fifth career goal against the Union in five games. The Union were 10 minutes away from their second win of the season, but the team failed to build off its first-half lead. The Union have not scored more than one goal in a game this season.
"You have to give a lot of credit to Di Vaio. He's a brilliant goal scorer," said Union manager John Hackworth. " . . . We knew it was coming at some point, and we had to do a better job than we did."
Di Vaio scored 20 goals last season and was one of Montreal's two all-stars. The 37-year-old former Italian international was suspended for the first three games of this season for "violent conduct" following last season's playoff loss to the Houston Dynamo.
His tying goal in the 80th minute was Montreal's lone shot on target. Union goalie Zac MacMath came off his line and forced Di Vaio to shoot from what is a usually poor left angle. But the ball deflected off Amobi Okugo and floated into the top right corner.
MacMath bent over and buried his head into his gloves. There was not much he could do, he said after the game.
MacMath has needed to stop just three shots in the last two games. All three have gone past him.
"It's tough," he said. "I feel a little bit like a bystander out there, not having much to do with the game. But I know when there are chances, I need to be ready."
Vincent Nogueira scored his first MLS goal in the 35th minute to give the Union an early lead. He scored from the right side, lofting the ball on a breakaway over the head of Montreal goalie Troy Perkins. It was almost the same spot he had misfired from 10 minutes earlier.
Di Vaio appeared to find his opening in the game's early minutes, but Union captain Brian Carroll came from behind to make the stop inside the box.
Di Vaio had to wait almost 70 minutes to capitalize. And when he did, he sprinted - not in place this time - and celebrated with his teammates in the corner.
Chicago 2, D.C. United 2 - Quincy Amarikwa's goal in the 82d minute lifted the Fire to a soggy tie with D.C. United in Washington.
United (0-2-1) extended its club-record winless streak in league play to 15 games dating to the 2013 season. It's the fifth-longest streak in MLS history.
Kansas City 3, Colorado 2 - Benny Feilhaber tied the game in the 79th minute, and Dom Dovale scored in stoppage time to help Sporting (2-1-1) rally for a win over the Rapids in Commerce City, Colo.
Vincente Sanchez had two goals for Colorado (1-1-1), both on penalty kicks.
Vancouver 2, Houston 1 - Kenny Miller scored on a penalty kick in the 58th minute, leading the unbeaten Whitecaps over visiting Houston.