Aug 18, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Chicago Fire midfielder Djordje Mihailovic (14) before the game against the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
When the regular season ends, Daniel Lovitz’s 91st minute volley goal could end up being huge in the Eastern Conference.
The Montreal Impact left back delivered the game-winner against the Chicago Fire on Saturday at Stade Saputo. After a Jeisson Vargas corner was headed just outside the box, Lovitz volleyed it with authority to give the Impact a 2-1 win.
With the victory, Montreal (10-13-3) kept pace with Philadelphia, which beat New York City FC, 2-0, to remain tied for fifth place. Additionally, the Impact will get a bit of breathing room ahead of the chasing pack.
For the Fire (6-15-5) , it was an eighth straight MLS loss. After Nemanja Nikolic canceled out Ignacio Piatti’s early penalty kick, it appeared the Fire would snap the streak with at least a point. Lovitz’s late winner pushes the Fire 10 points out of a playoff spot with eight matches remaining.
It didn’t take long for Montreal to take the lead. Saphir Taïder beat Bastian Schweinsteiger in the box to draw a penalty kick in the 4th minute. Piatti converted for his 12th goal of the season.
The first half didn’t provide much other action. The Fire failed to get a shot of any kind and the Impact managed just two (one on target).
The Fire showed more urgency in the second half, which led to Nikolic’s goal in the 70th minute. He headed a Nico Hasler cross on goal, but Evan Bush came up with a big save. However, Nikolic was able to get to the rebound and score through a crowd.
“I think it was very positive,” Fire coach Veljko Paunović said of his team’s response. “We had the opportunity to score the second goal.”
When asked about conceding a late goal Paunović said, “It’s been the whole season like that.”
Bacary Sagna made his first appearance and first start for the Impact. The former Arsenal and Manchester City right back played all 90 minutes. He created a pair of quality scoring chances for Taïder via crosses, but Taïder put both wide.
Fire midfielder Djordje Mihailovic saw his first game action since suffering a torn ACL in last year’s playoff defeat to the New York Red Bulls. He played 58 minutes before being replaced by Michael de Leeuw, who made his second appearance after coming back from an ACL injury at the same time.