MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact did their homework on Real Salt Lake's defending and it paid off.

Montreal's careful video breakdown of their opponent's defensive tendencies directly led to the opening goal as the Impact defeated RSL 2-1 on Wednesday night for their first win in four games.

In preparing for the match, assistant coach Wilfried Nancy noticed Real Salt Lake defenders liked to drop back towards their goaltender when defending a fast break. Midfielder Shamit Shome used that information when he set up Omar Browne's opener.

"Wilfried actually told me, before the game yesterday, he pulled me aside during our training session and said look for the cut-back," said Shome. "Because the way they defend, they always drop deep. So look for the cut-back. And that's what I was thinking based on what we talked about yesterday.

"It's good to see things that we talk about in training pay off."

With the seconds ticking away in first-half stoppage time of a scoreless game, the Impact were determined to manufacture one final attack.

Great build-up play in midfield opened up space for Bacary Sagna on the right flank. The former Arsenal man sent a through ball down the wing to Shome, who squared his pass to Browne in the box instead of crossing it in the air.

Surrounded by RSL defenders, Browne took a touch and calmly slotted the ball to the back post for his second of the year and Montreal's first goal at Saputo Stadium in 232 minutes. It was the last kick of the first half.

"When he's taking on guys, he's unbalancing teams for sure," said goalkeeper Evan Bush of Browne. "I told him that the goal that he scored was two touches. The goal came from that. It's not always get the ball wide, and step over, and touch touch touch, sometimes you vary it and you saw that with the goal he scored."

Browne and Saphir Taider took charge of the offence with Ignacio Piatti not in the lineup for Montreal. Piatti recently re-aggravated the knee injury that kept him out of action for two months.

Taider made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 68th minute after former Impact defender Donny Toia knocked Sagna down in the 18-yard-box. Taider fired right to beat Nick Rimando for his team-leading fifth goal of the season and second penalty goal in as many games.

After doubling their lead, though, the Impact (7-6-3) took their foot off the gas and let Real Salt Lake (6-7-1) get back in the game.

Sam Johnson scored in the 84th minute when he buried his fifth of the season past Bush from close range after Damir Kreilach's header in the box evaded two Impact defenders.

Sebastian Saucedo came inches away from making it 2-2 in stoppage time but his free kick curled just wide of Bush's net.

The Impact held on and improved to 2-3-0 against Western-Conference opponents this year. RSL snapped their three-game winning streak.

"We were a little more consistent tonight," said head coach Remi Garde. "I would have wanted us to be a bit more solid but overall our will to win was satisfactory. Hopefully this will give us momentum for the next two games.

"For the confidence of this team, it was a good one."

Garde's men were on the front foot from the starting whistle and all the action took place in Real Salt Lake's penalty box to begin the game.

Striker Maximiliano Urruti hit the crossbar in the second minute of play. Seconds later, Rudy Camacho's header off a free kick forced Rimando to make a reaction save. In the fifth minute, Taider's left-footed attempt was blocked at the side of the net.

Notes: Real Salt Lake remains winless all-time in Montreal (0-4-0). … David Choiniere left the game with an apparent head injury in the second half after colliding with Salt Lake's Justen Glad. ... The Impact outshot RSL 15-8.