The Montreal Impact had never managed to defeat the New York Red Bulls in Harrison prior to Sunday, but the Canadian club bucked that trend at the most opportune time to its place in the final four.
The Impact captured a historic 2-1 win against the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena, giving Mauro Biello’s team a 3-1 aggregate win to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in the club’s history.
The visitors took the lead six minutes into the second stanza, putting the Red Bulls at a massive disadvantage at home. Ignacio Piatti notched his second goal of the postseason in the 51st minute after getting past Red Bulls defender Chris Duvall and blasting a shot past Luis Robles.
Bradley Wright-Phillips did his best to pull the Red Bulls back into the match and notched a goal for the hosts with under 15 minutes remaining following a cross from second-half substitute Daniel Royer from inside the penalty area.
Piatti locked up the tie in the 85th minute with his second of the day, sealing the Impact’s spot in the conference final.
After a physical opening quarter hour, the Red Bulls nearly took the lead in the 20th minute when Gonzalo Veron was taken down in the penalty area by Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush. However, Bush avenged his critical mistake by stopping Sacha Kljestan’s ensuing spot kick, keeping the match scoreless on the afternoon.
With Sunday’s win, the Impact advance to the Eastern Conference finals and will face the winner of Toronto FC’s semifinals clash with New York City FC.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Ignacio Piatti continues to light it up in the postseason, adding two more goals to his name on Sunday afternoon which helped the Impact knock out the Eastern Conference’s top seeded club.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
It was Piatti’s brilliance in front of goal that gave the Impact the win, but Evan Bush‘s first-half save on Sacha Kljestan from the penalty spot prevented the Red Bulls from building any early momentum.
MATCH TO FORGET
Despite having a brilliant regular season, which included a league-leading 20 assists, Sacha Kljestan failed to break down the Impact defense on Sunday and his penalty miss proved crucial for the Red Bulls.