Alistair Johnston scored his fourth goal of the season on a gorgeous, 72nd-minute counterattack to lift streaking CF Montreal to a 1-0 victory at the New England Revolution on Saturday night.
Djordje Mihailovic and Romell Quioto both assisted on the counter, which finished with a goal that sent Montreal to its sixth consecutive away victory and keep their hopes alive of finishing atop the Eastern Conference and earning a first-round bye.
Montreal (18-9-5, 59 points) is guaranteed to finish no worse than second, and is now five points back of East leaders Philadelphia, with both teams having two games remaining. The top finisher in each conference receives a first-round bye in the 14-team MLS Cup Playoffs.
With New England (9-12-11, 38 points) entering the match with its playoff hopes on the line, the Revolution were outshot 18-10 overall, though they did tie Montreal in efforts on target and force Sebastian Breza into three saves.
The 2021 Supporters’ Shield winners began the night in 10th in the East, three points behind seventh-place Columbus, which now has two games in hand entering tomorrow’s home match against Portland.
New England has lost three in a row for the first time since a four-match losing run that spanned late March and early April.
Revolution coach Bruce Arena was upset there was no handball called on Quioto’s tackle that started the key breakaway. Regardless, Montreal’s goal-scoring sequence was executed well.
Quioto laid the ball off for Mihailovic, then immediately launched himself down the right flank. Mihailovic returned the pass to hit Quito in stride, Quioto crossed the ball toward the penalty arc, and Alistair Johnston met it in stride to hammer a first-time finish past Djordje Petrovic.
The Revolution rarely had chances to score once they fell behind.
The best came in the 89th minute when Giacomo Vrioni timed his run well to reach a diagonal ball behind the back line, but fired high over the bar.
That sealed one of only three scoreless defeats for New England this season. One of the others came in these teams’ previous meeting, a 4-0 Montreal home win on Aug. 20.
–Field Level Media