HARRISON, New Jersey - The Montreal Impact fell 2-1 to the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night in a wild affair at Red Bull Arena, after playing over 75 minutes down a man, following an ejection early in the first half.
Despite the loss, IMFC is still holding on to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, one-point ahead of Orlando City SC with one game in hand.
"We started the game on our heels and when you do that, you risk things and we ended up with a red card," said Impact head coach Mauro Biello. "All games we play are playoff games, so if we want to be part of the playoffs, we need to win and get points.”
The Red Bulls scored the opening goal on a PK by Sacha Kljestan in the 16th minute, after defender Ambroise Oyongo was shown a red card when he prevented a goal by handling the ball on the goal line.
Midfielder Lloyd Sam lobbed in his 10th goal of the season after Bush came charging out of his goal. He missed his tackle, but Bradley Wright-Philipps’ blocked attempt fell to Lloyd, who had an open net from distance in the 39th minute.
Striker Didier Drogba got one back for IMFC on a PK of his own, putting it low left side to score his eighth goal of the season in the 68th minute, tying him for the team lead this season.
"This is a team that moves the ball well," said Patrice Bernier. "We worked better in the second half and we tried to create some things, but it was difficult."
“Playing against a team like the Red Bulls a man down is tough", said Dominic Oduro. "We have to learn from our mistakes. We control our destiny, so we need to stay focused and regroup."
Klejstan could have scored a second time on a PK in the 30th minute, but Evan Bush made the save diving to his left.
The Impact keeper made some good saves in the first half, charging out of his 6-yard box to jump and block Mike Grella’s attempted chip in the eighth minute. Just minutes earlier, he dove towards the penalty spot to intercept a cross that was falling to Bradley Wright-Phillips, who was all alone in the box.
IMFC’s best chance of the first half fell to Didier Drogba after Dilly Duka sent him in with a long ball in the 43rd minute, but the Ivorian couldn’t get off a good shot and his soft bouncing attempt was stopped by Robles.
Drogba found another chance in the 56th minute when he brought down a long ball in the box and fired a tough angle shot that just missed far side.
The Wright-Phillips brothers each saw a shot hit the post 10 minutes apart in the second half. First Shaun curled one from the left flank that banged off the far post in the 65th minute. Then, Shaun sent Bradley in on a break, but the younger brother watched as his low shot hit the short side post after he broke in alone on goal.
The Impact will play its next game on Saturday against the Rapids in Colorado, at 6pm EDT, in what will be the third straight road game in eight days (TVA Sports, CJAD 800).
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Donny Toia, Laurent Ciman, Victor Cabrera, Ambroise Oyongo; M-Nigel Reo-Coker (Hassoun Camara 46’), Eric Alexander (Calum Mallace 55’), Marco Donadel (Patrice Bernier 65’), Dilly Duka, Dominic Oduro; F-Didier Drogba
Subs not used: GK-Eric Kronberg; D-Maxim Tissot; M-Andrés Romero; F-Romario Williams
NYRB – GK-Luis Robles; D-Connor Lade, Damien Perrinelle, Ronald Zubar, Sal Zizzo; M-Dax MacCarty, Felipe (Sean Davis 46’), Lloyd Sam (Gonzalo Veron 84’), Mike Grella (Shaun Wright-Phillips 61’), Sacha Kjlestan; F-Bradley Wright-Phillips
Subs not used: GK-Kyle Reynish; M-Karl W. Ouimette, Kemar Lawrence; M-Anthony Wallace
NY – Kljestan (PK) 16’
NY – Sam 39’
MTL – Drogba (PK) 68’
MTL – Donadel 27’
MTL – Toia 30’
NY – Zubar 67’
MTL – Bernier 71’
NY – Lade 76’
NY – Zizzo 89’
MTL – Oyongo 15’