Sep 1, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Impact defender Rod Fanni (15) celebrates his goal against the New York Red Bulls with teammates during the first half at Stade Saputo. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Combined with the New England Revolution’s 1-1 home draw Saturday against the Portland Timbers, the No. 6 Impact (11-14-3, 36 points) stretched their lead over the No. 7 Revs to six points at the playoff cut line in the Eastern Conference.
Despite having a season-long six-game unbeaten streak snapped, the Red Bulls (17-7-4, 55 points) became the first team in the league to clinch a playoff berth. It was New York’s fifth game in 15 days.
After spending most of the first half hour defending in two blocks of four, the Impact took the lead in the 30th minute on Rod Fanni’s first MLS goal.
The defender beat Red Bulls defender Aaron Long to a near-post corner kick from Saphir Taider and put a glancing header inside the far post.
The goal gave the hosts confidence, and three minutes later Ignacio Piatti ran at Connor Lade before chipping wide of the far post. A minute after that, Quincy Amarikwa laid the ball off for Taider, who fired just over the crossbar from the edge of the 18-yard box.
The Impact doubled their advantage on another set piece in the 38th minute, when Jukka Raitala latched onto Daniel Lovitz’s free kick and headed toward the far post, where an unmarked Bacary Sagna nodded home.
Alejandro Silva had a pair of chances early in the second half to tack onto the lead, but Luis Robles raced off his line to get a hand on his 47th-minute shot and seven minutes later, Silva put a left-footed attempt over the crossbar from 12 yards out.
The best scoring chance for the Red Bulls came in the 67th minute when Marc Rzatkowski squared his free kick to Kaku, but his shot sailed wide of the target.
After having a goal called back for offside, Ignacio Piatti received a pass from Silva in the third minute of stoppage time and finished clinically inside the far post to put the finishing touches on a dominant victory.