Orji Okwonkwo leads Impact over Red Bulls in MLS season finale

Montreal Impact's Orji Okwonkwo, right, challenges New York Red Bulls' Kemar Lawrence during first half MLS soccer action in Montreal, Sunday, October 6, 2019. (Graham Hughes/CP)

MONTREAL — A goal and an assist by Orji Okwonkwo led the Montreal Impact to a 3-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls on the final day of the Major League Soccer season.

Bojan and Maximiliano Urruti also scored for the already-eliminated Impact (12-17-5), who snapped a four-game winless run. Goalkeeper Clement Diop made his second start for Montreal, stopping one shot for the clean sheet.

With their first loss in three weeks, the playoff-bound Red Bulls (14-14-6) dropped to sixth in the Eastern Conference. New York will play the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium in the first round of the post-season.

The Red Bulls remain winless in Montreal since 2012 (0-7-2).

The Impact gave the 15,022 fans at Saputo Stadium something to celebrate for the first time in weeks.

A determined Montreal side put pressure on New York from the opening whistle with early chances from Ignacio Piatti, Okwonkwo and Saphir Taider.

The breakthrough came when Okwonkwo blew past two New York defenders in the 23rd minute, raced into the box and squared a ball to Bojan. The former Barcelona midfielder easily tapped it in from six yards out for his second goal in as many games.

It was the first goal conceded by Luis Robles following three consecutive shutouts.

The home side doubled its lead in the 37th through Urruti’s fourth of the season. With the Impact claiming a penalty after Jukka Raitala went down in the box, Urruti took advantage of the confusion by stripping substitute Michael Murillo of the ball and beating Robles from a tight angle into the side netting.

Okwonkwo put the game out of reach in the 62nd minute when he chested the ball into the back of the net off a cross from Taider.

It was Montreal’s most convincing win since a 4-0 victory over Philadelphia on July 27.

Piatti left the game in the 85th minute to a standing ovation and fans chanting his name. The Impact’s star midfielder, who joined the club in 2014, is waiting to see if Montreal will exercise an option on his contract for 2020.

Notes: Coach Wilmer Cabrera improved to 2-4-1 since taking over in August. … Red Bulls forward Brian White (ankle injury) played his first game since Aug. 17.

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