Impact tops TFC to keep Montreal’s playoff hopes alive

Montreal Impact's Ignacio Piatti moves in on Toronto FC's goalkeeper Alexander Bono during second half MLS soccer action in Montreal, Sunday, October 21, 2018. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

The Montreal Impact fought off elimination in dramatic fashion and now they have to do it all over again next week.

Montreal’s Ignacio Piatti scored two late goals as the Impact defeated rivals Toronto FC 2-0 on Sunday afternoon to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Montreal still has a chance of making the Major League Soccer post-season after the Columbus Crew lost 2-1 to Orlando City SC earlier Sunday. Orlando’s Sacha Kljestan scored from the penalty spot in the sixth minute of stoppage time to sink the Crew.

“Earlier this week the scenarios weren’t in our favour,” said Impact midfielder Samuel Piette. “Our chances weren’t great. Now the probability is even higher. The message is the same, we need to win our last game. But there’s more hope now.”

“We have to approach this last game as the biggest of our lives. It’s do or die right now.”

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The Impact (14-15-4) are seventh in the Eastern Conference with 46 points, two points behind Columbus (13-11-9) with one game remaining for both teams.

READ MORE: Montreal Impact look to close in on MLS playoff spot with a win in D.C.

Remi Garde’s men need to defeat the New England Revolution in the season finale next Sunday while Columbus would have to tie or lose at home to Minnesota United FC for the Impact to make the playoffs.

“There’s a special thing that we have going on and hopefully we can continue it a little bit longer,” said goalkeeper Evan Bush. “I notice they didn’t put the scores on the video board at all today. I told Jukka (Raitala) on the field that I didn’t see any scores so I assumed it was bad news.”

“But now I’m re-energized going into next week, to lock in on a New England team at a very difficult place to play. Tricky game for us but if we approach it the same way then I think we’ll be all right.”

Elsewhere in the league, D.C. United clinched a playoff berth with a 3-1 win over New York City FC.

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That score meant Montreal needed a victory against Toronto (9-18-6) to remain in the two-team playoff race in the East.

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The game was 0-0 until the 74th minute when Piatti scored from the penalty spot.

Substitute Eriq Zavaleta tugged at Piatti’s shirt and pulled him down in the box. There was no immediate penalty call on the play. After video review, referee Baldomero Toledo pointed to the spot and Piatti made no mistake for his 15th goal of the year.

Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney was not happy with the penalty call.

“This gap between what is clear and obvious is becoming embarrassing in my opinion,” said Vanney. “The gap is enormous and it’s grey and you can live anywhere in the grey area.”

“The fact that he (Piatti) is facing backwards and just falls to the ground and there’s nothing in it is ridiculous.”

READ MORE: Montreal Impact trade Uduro to San Jose Earthquakes for Amarikwa

“For me it’s gotten worse, in terms of being able to interpret what is what. To change a call that you’ve already made means it has to be so blatantly obvious. But it’s a grey area and nobody really questions it.”

Piatti made make it 2-0 in the 89th minute after miscommunication in the backfield between Alex Bono and defender Chris Mavinga gave Piatti a wide open net.

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“They want me to play aggressive and today I made a mistake being aggressive,” said Bono, who made three saves. “I read the ball as rolling through a little further. At that point I made a decision that I was coming. It was a decision that I made and I’ll live with it and learn from it.”

The 19,684 in attendance at Saputo Stadium celebrated a goal by defender Rod Fanni in the 36th minute but it was called back after a video review found forward Quincy Amarikwa was in an offside position.

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