Montreal travels to DC United, focusing on a shot at first place

Montreal travels to DC United, focusing on a shot at first place

CF Montreal will have it all to play for on a decisive day, sitting just two points back of first place in the Eastern Conference after a nervy 1-0 win over DC United on Saturday evening.

A Donovan Pines goal was the only difference between Montreal (19-9-5) and United (7-20-6), who suffered their 20th loss of the Major League Soccer season.

Montreal came out right away in the first leg, dictating the pace, taking possession, and creating golden opportunities in the first 10 minutes. Lassi Lappalinen played right and rounded the keeper but missed a wide open net.

United sat in the low block, blocking the defense with two banks of four players. It’s a strategy that many teams have employed when visiting the Stade Saputo, finding plenty of success in the process.

United had similar success stopping Montreal’s attacks and even had a few shots on Montreal keeper James Pantemis. However, they were punished for giving up just three minutes before half-time.

After a quick run, Zachary Brault-Gillard played a dangerous cross that broke the Pines.

Looking for an equaliser, DC began to press higher and higher up the field and found their best chance of the half with 15 minutes remaining. Benteke got an inch-perfect finish through the ball, forcing another superb stop by Pantemis.

Just over a minute later, Ismail Kony played in the goal and equalized with a penalty after being tripped by Pence, which was sent back. Torres stepped up to take the spot kick but was denied as he put it to the keeper’s left.

With a 4-0 loss to Charlotte FC of the Philadelphia Union, Montreal now heads into Decision Day with first place in the Eastern Conference and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Both teams will conclude their regular season on October 9 as Montreal heads to South Beach to take on Inter Miami while DC hosts FC Cincinnati.

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