The race for the last two play-off spots reduced itself over the weekend to the best of a bad bunch.
All three contenders who played last evening failed to win, while the fourth, Chicago, who played the previous night, at least managed to gain a point.
It leaves Montreal in 9th spot, with Chicago a point below in 10th, with a game less played. The Impact will likely need to win next Sunday at DC United to progress. Avoiding defeat ay not be enough. Inter Miami close at home to Cincinnati and you have to expect the expansion side will collect al three points.
Chicago must go to Minnesota, then face NYCFC at home, the only consolation being each of the Fire’s opponents are seeking points to ensure top four finishes in their respective Conferences.
So, all to play for still, even if reaching the play-offs by finishing 9th, or 10th, seems tantamount to rewarding failure.
Last night there wasn’t much between the teams, but weakened Orlando was clinical on the one occasion ultimately that mattered. That was in the 39th minute in a game of few chances, when Daryl Dike carried the ball forward off-loading to Peyrera before colliding with Maciel.
Peyrera held off Piette, supplying a slide rule pass picking up the late run of Dike into the box, the big striker leaving Camacho in his wake before sliding the ball consummately past a flat-footed Diop for his third goal in as many games.
It was the tenth time in the past 14 matches that Montreal had conceded the first goal in a match.
The early part of the second-half was as sterile as much of the opening 45 minutes. Only Bojan looked capable of elevating Montreal back on level terms. And they had to be thankful to Diop for keeping the margin to one, saving well from Akindele in the 75th minute and at the feet of Mendez five minutes later.
Bojan did force a final acrobatic save from Gallese in the Orlando goal 2 minutes into added time, but it was a stop you would expect the ‘keeper to save.
So it’s onto the US capital next Sunday for possibly the last Impact match of this wretched of all seasons, unless of course they win, or do just enough to secure a place in post-season football for the first time in four years.
It will be difficult to feel celebratory even they do achieve the objective. Finishing 9th, or 10th after such a poor run of form feels undeserving of reward.
IMFC - Diop - Brault-Guillard, Binks, Camacho, Raitala, Corrales (Jackson-Hamel, 54) - Wanyama, Piette (Toye, 74), Maciel (Sejdic, 54) - Bojan, Quioto.
Bench - Pantemis, Fanni, Bayiha, Saba, Shome
OCSC - Gallese - Miller (Ruan, 57), Jansson, Carlos, Smith - Michel (Dezart, 85), Mendez, Pereya (Junior Urso, 57), Perea - Akindele (Alvarado, 76), Dike (Aias, 85)
Bench (not used) - Rowe, De John, Schlegel, Robinho
Match Officials -
Referee: Robert Sibiga
Asst Refs: Brian Dunn, Chris Elliott
4th Official: Luis Arroyo
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez