Toronto dents Impact’s playoff hopes with 1-0 win
Needing a win to secure an MLS playoff berth without help from
other teams, the Montreal Impact fell flat. Again.
The Impact turned in a woeful first-half performance and were
beaten 1-0 by a Toronto team that started the day 23 points behind
its Canadian rival.
Robert Earnshaw scored his team-leading eighth goal of the
season in the 16th minute for Toronto (6-17-11), which could have
led by three after the first 45 minutes of the regular-season
finale for both clubs.
Once a force in the East, the Impact have collected four of a
possible 24 points available over their last eight games
”The first half, we weren’t very good,” Impact coach Marco
Schallibaum said. ”A lot of mistakes, a lot of tension. There were
”The second half was better. Not much better, but better. There
were also chances to score, maybe (make it) 1-1. But it was not
good enough to win this game today. And that’s a pity.”
Just how much of a pity will be determined Sunday.
Montreal (14-13-7, 49 points) will be out if Houston beats D.C.
United, New England defeats Columbus and Chicago beats or ties New
York. It could be worse, but the Impact could have rendered
Sunday’s results meaningless had they shown up Saturday.
With just Toronto, D.C. United and the Columbus Crew eliminated
from playoff contention and New York and Sporting Kansas City
already in, it made for a complicated final weekend in the East
with Montreal, Chicago, New England, Houston and Philadelphia vying
for the final three playoff berths.
Philadelphia was ousted after losing 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City
earlier in the day. The Union had needed a win and help from other
Chicago (49 points), Houston (48) and New England (48) all get
their chance Sunday.
The Impact went into the weekend in the best position, tied with
Chicago on points but well ahead in the next tiebreaker (goals
There was little on the line for Toronto other than pride – and
the chance to pick up a sixth win, one more than last season, when
the team went 5-21-8.
It was a ”win and you’re in” game for Montreal but there was
little sense of urgency from the visitors despite the cheers of
Impact supporters squeezed into the corner of the east stand of BMO
After a sluggish start by both teams, Toronto began to take
control and outshot the Impact 10-5 (5-0 in shots on target) in the
Montreal made changes in the second half and began to finally
test the Toronto defense. The Impact outshot Toronto 10-6 in the
second half, but only put three shots on target to Toronto’s
When Montreal did find its aim, Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik
was equal to the task.
He stopped Davey Arnaud at point-blank range in the 53rd minute.
And he robbed Andres Romero in the 88th minute.
Montreal misfired the rest of the time.
A 62nd-minute goal by Marco Di Vaio was called off due to
apparent handball. Three minutes later, substitute Andrea Pisanu
headed just wide. Andrew Wenger shot wide from in front of the net
in the 72nd minute.
Toronto was coming off a 1-0 loss in Chicago, a defeat that
stretched its league road scoring drought to 6hours, 45 minutes.
Toronto has failed to make the playoffs since entering the league