The Montreal Impact continued to stand still in its quest to qualify for the MLS playoffs, losing 1-0 to Nashville SC on Tuesday night at Red Bull Arena.
Randall Leal, at 33e minute, scored the only goal of the game, which put Nashville SC (7-6-7) up to seventh in the Eastern Conference with 28 points.
Faced with a rival who has conceded only 18 goals this season, the Impact was shut out for a third time in 2020, a first since August 28 against Toronto FC. The Montreal team had scored at least one goal in its last 13 meetings.
Following this seventh setback in its last ten outings, the Impact (7-12-2) remains in ninth place in the East with 23 points, two more than Inter Miami CF and the Chicago Fire who have one and two banked parts, respectively.
These two teams will have the opportunity to pass the Impact on Wednesday night as Miami will face FC Dallas while Chicago will battle the Philadelphia Union.
The Impact will be back on Red Bull Arena on Sunday night for a duel that promises to be awkward against Orlando City SC, fourth in the Eastern Conference and already guaranteed to take part in the playoffs.
Like two boxers who study each other during the first round of a fight, the Impact and Nashville SC players played cautiously during the first quarter of an hour of play.
Thierry Henry’s men sought to build offensive streaks by patiently taking turns with the ball, but their efforts only led to a single shot, off target, from Samuel Piette, after a cross from Raitala, during the 13e minute of play.
Gradually, the Nashville SC began to take its ease and impose its presence in the Impact’s half of the field. This growing pressure led to the first goal of the game, which was achieved thanks to the presence of mind of Alex Muyl.
Thrown to the ground near the center circle, Muyl quickly rose to take the free kick that turned into a pass to Leal, who had slipped behind defenders Luis Binks and Jorge Corrales.
Leal appeared alone in front of Diop, who rushed towards him, but his left foot shot slipped to the right of the Impact goalkeeper.
The Impact showed more dynamism at the start of the second half and Piette came close to equalizing the score at the 50e minute, with the help of a shot taken while turning on itself, from the penalty area, which goalkeeper Joe Willis captured with both hands while dropping to the ground.
About a quarter of an hour later, Nashville SC came very close to doubling their lead over a Walker Zimmerman header. Posting at the goal line, defenseman Joel Waterman saved the furniture by repelling the shot.
At the 75e minute, it was the turn of Diop to prevent a goal by interposing in front of Jhonder Cadiz in the penalty area following a surplus.
The Impact believed it had tied the game at 85e minute when Romell Quoto lodged the ball behind Willis after a superb cross from Bojan.
The linesman immediately declared offside, a decision that was validated by video assisted refereeing.