For the first hour, both the New England Revolution and Montreal Impact searched for a breakthrough goal. The Revs nearly found the opener at the end of the first half and Montreal should have been ahead but Anthony Jackson-Hamel missed a sitter from close range.
Midway though the second half, it was Lee Nguyen who found the back of the net first and only goal of the match, as the Revs kept their playoff hopes alive with a second straight home win, 1-0 over Montreal.
Montreal’s Ignacio Piatti fired a shot in the first minute that was saved by Revs keeper Cody Cropper. However, the Impact would have just one more shot on target the rest of the way, despite pressing Cropper into action off his line on several occasions.
The Impact’s best chance would come via a Ignacio Piatti free kick, which took a deflection off the Revs’ wall and nearly snuck into the net. Montreal would also raise a rightful claim on a first half penalty shout, when Cropper charged through Jackson-Hamel with the ball going over the endline for a goal kick. Montreal wanted a penalty or at least a video review, but none came though replays showed Cropper clearly tripped up the Impact attacker without getting much, if any, f the ball.
The Revs closed out the first half with a flurry of attacks, putting three shots on target only to be denied by Evan Bush in the Montreal goal. Perhaps the Revs’ best chance was the shot they missed, as Scott Caldwell sent in a cross from the right hand side that found Lee Nguyen but his header flashed wide of the post.
The second half again started with a good chance for the Impact, as a stray ball got through the Revs penalty area in the 47th minute and found Jackson-Hamel all alone. Benjamin Angoua didn’t follow his runner and was only let off by a poor finish as Hamel missed a wide open far post.
Eventually, the Revs would make Montreal pay for that miss and New England would take the lead in the 68th minute. Teal Bunbury sent a pass to the middle that was partially broken up by Laurent Ciman. However, Lee Nguyen fought for the ball and fortunate bounce and move around a desperation tackle from Victor Cabrera, Nguyen took it in himself and slotted home past Bush for the game’s only goal.
New England should’ve doubled their lead a minute later, when substitute Diego Fagundez outhustled Bush and the Montreal defense and fired a shot/cross that hit was possibly tipped onto the bar by some good emergency keeping by Evan Bush. Kei Karama’s follow up shot also found the crossbar and Montreal eventually cleared the danger.
Once Montreal’s defense allowed the first goal, they weren’t able to test Cody Cropper on the other end though the box score won’t tell the whole story. Cropper was off his line and had a couple of key punches, but Montreal failed to register a shot on target in the second half as the Revs keeper notched a shutout.
The win brings the Revs to just one point behind 6th place Atlanta United and 7th place Impact, however Atlanta has several games in hand on both teams. New England still has to play Atlanta twice in the closing weeks, and those games will be vital to the slim hopes the Revs have of sneaking into the playoffs.
New England’s next match will be at Atlanta midweek on September 13th at 700pm before another road trip to Sporting Kansas City on September 16th at 830pm.