By JAY BELL
The Montreal Impact remained winless in Toronto and lost control of its own playoff fate following a 1-0 road loss to Toronto FC to close out the regular season Saturday.
TFC’s high defensive pressure paid off in the 16th minute when an Impact giveaway resulted in a break for the home team. Montreal’s defense scrambled back, but a lucky bounce from TFC forward Bright Dike left Jonathan Osorio open for a shot in the box. Forward Robert Earnshaw redirected Osorio’s shot from just outside of the penalty box past Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins for the game’s only goal.
Montreal continued to live dangerously in the first half as Earnshaw, Dike and the rest of the attack pressured Perkins. Rookie midfielder Kyle Bekker finished off a sequence in the 38th minute with a shot that hit off the crossbar.
The Impact’s best chance came in the 53rd minute on a counter. Veteran forward Marco Di Vaio switched the field to winger Justin Mapp on the right who then found Di Vaio slicing into the box. Di Vaio touched the pass and left it for captain Davy Arnaud just outside of the corner of the penalty box, but TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik denied the Montreal captain.
An equalizer was almost put in by Di Vaio less than 10 minutes later, but the ball went in off of Di Vaio’s arm and was waved off by the referee. The visitors scrambled for a goal for the rest of the game, but were unable to draw level.
The loss leaves the Impact at 49 points and third in the Eastern Conference. Chicago (49 points), New England (48) and Houston (48) all play tomorrow and could send the reeling Impact out of the playoffs all together.