FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Montreal Impact saw a difficult season end with a last-minute 2-1 loss to the New England Revolution Friday.
The two clubs opened the Major League Soccer playoffs in Foxborough, Mass., marking the first time since 2016 that Montreal has seen action in the post-season.
Revolution striker Gustavo Bou delivered a dagger in the fifth minute of injury time to capture the victory.
His teammate Carles Gil struck first with a goal in the 38th minute, sending a low shot skipping across the grass past diving Montreal ‘keeper Clement Diop.
Romell Quioto evened the score with a header in the 61st, and the Impact held strong for more than 30 minutes in a game that seemed destined for extra time.
Diop was tested early and often in the contest, stopping five-of-seven on-target shots. At the other end of the field, Matt Turner made four saves for the Revolution.
Montreal (8-13-2) was the underdog heading into Friday’s contest, having lost three of four meetings between the two clubs during the regular season and finishing one spot below the Revolution (8-7-8) in the Eastern Conference standings.
New England will now face either Toronto FC or the Philadelphia Union on Nov. 24.
The game’s first goal came near the end of the first half, with Bou lobbing a pass into Gil high up in the penalty area. The Spanish midfielder collected the ball and sent a rocket into the bottom right corner of the Montreal net.
It was Gil’s first goal of the year. He missed much of the season after undergoing surgery on his left Achilles tendon in August.
Montreal responded after Matt Polster fouled Bojan Kjkic.
Impact midfielder Amar Sejdic took the free kick, sending a high ball into the New England area. Rudy Camacho bounced it off his head to Quioto, who sent it into the Revolution net.
It was the Honduran forward’s first post-season goal in MLS play.
Montreal was playing without several key pieces on Friday.
Midfielder Samuel Piette was suspended after being shown the red card in the Impact’s final game of the regular season, and teammate Victor Wanyama had not yet returned from playing with the Kenyan national team. Impact captain Jukka Raitala was also out of commission with an injury.
The rejigged lineup started out strong against the Revolution, with Kjkic forcing a turnover in the third minute and getting a nice shot off from well outside the New England penalty area. Turner was forced to make a double-touch save on the play.
The Spanish attacker had a few chances in the game, including a free kick in the 21st minute that went just wide of the Revolution net.
New England gained momentum through the first 45 minutes. By halftime, the Revolution had dominated 60.5 per cent of possession and outshot the Impact 10 to 5.
Bou proved to be a thorn in the Impact’s side, consistently getting deep into the Montreal area and assisting on Gil’s goal.
The Argentine designated player put a ball in the back of the next in the fifth minute, but Diop quickly contested the goal, running out of his net and vocally protesting to referee Jair Marrufo. A review showed the ball going in off Bou’s hand.
Bou was shown the yellow card for the play.
He nearly finished the game in the 86th minute with sliding shot that went just wide of the Montreal net.
NOTES: Revolution forward Tajon Buchanan was taken off in the 49th minute for an apparent knee injury. The 21-year-old from Brampton, Ont., was a force for New England through the regular season, registering two goals and two assists in 23 appearances? New England’s Tommy MacNamara and Montreal’s Jorge Corrales were both shown the yellow card for unsporting behaviour.