The Montreal Impact insist they won’t throw in the towel even if a crushing loss at home to an expansion team dealt a body blow to their MLS playoff hopes.
An 89th minute goal by substitute Abu Danladi handed Minnesota a 3-2 victory in a game Montreal led twice on Saturday night.
It was a fourth straight defeat — three of them at home — and left the Impact five points out of a playoff spot with six games left in the regular season. And things will only get tougher, with games Wednesday night at first-place Toronto and next Saturday before what could be a massive crowd in Atlanta’s new stadium.
“There are six games left, it’s still possible,” said captain Patrice Bernier, who scored his first regular-season goal since 2013 to give the Impact an early lead. “We’re going into Toronto. It’s tough, but it’s Toronto, so we have to show up.
“I’m an optimist. This one has a sour feeling. It was there for the taking and we didn’t take it.”
Impact waste chances
All was in Montreal’s favour against a team that had won only once away from home this season. Minnesota (8-15-5) is one of the league’s weakest sides and they were playing a second game in four days after a 3-0 defeat Wednesday in Vancouver.
But defensive lapses, and evident mental fragility, saw the Impact (10-12-6) waste two one-goal leads in front of a full house of 20,801 at Saputo Stadium.
After Bernier’s ninth-minute goal, Montreal was awarded a spot kick when video review showed Minnesota’s Jerome Thiesson blocked a Daniel Lovitz cross with is arm.
But Ignacio Piatti’s shot was stopped by Bobby Shuttleworth.
Piatti from the spot. Automatic?
Eight minutes later, the Loons were given a penalty kick when a pass hit Victor Carbrera’s hand and Kevin Molino made no mistake to tie the game in the 21st.
The Impact charged out again in the second half and looked to have taken control when Blerim Dzemaili drilled in a headed pass from Michael Salazar in the 55th. But a Molino free kick was bandied back and forth in front of the Montreal goal before Christain Ramirez nodded it home in the 68th.
What a finish.
With the Impact…