MONTREAL — A first-half goal from Jose Goncalves was enough to lift the Revolution over the Montreal Impact, 1-0, on Saturday, and boost their hopes of making the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
The victory snapped a two-game winless streak for the Revolution (12-11-9, 45 points), and extended the Impact’s winless streak to five games.
“It’s a big 3 points,” Goncalves said. “When we come here to Montreal we come definitely to take the 3 points, and we know that if we don’t, if we fail, then it’s going to be very difficult to keep looking forward to the playoffs.”
Juan Agudelo appeared ready to open the scoring off a Chris Tierney free kick when he rose above the Impact defense, but the forward headed the chance wide. It looked as if Montreal had dodged going down a goal, only to see Scott Caldwell keep the ball from rolling over the end line. Caldwell then found Diego Fagundez at the edge of the penalty area, and the forward drove toward the goal line and crossed the ball toward Agudelo, but again the forward missed his chance. This time, though, Goncalves was waiting, and the defender drilled home the shot in the 31st minute.
The goal, Goncalves’s second of the season, couldn’t have come at a better time for the Revolution, who were trying to regroup after seeing Saer Sene get stretchered off the field with a gruesome left leg injury from a Davy Arnaud tackle 13 minutes earlier.
“You run into situations on the field where they’re bigger than the game, and so everyone’s heart went out to what happened to Saer. It’s a devastating play for both teams, to be a part of it, to see it,” said Revolution coach Jay Heaps. “The response from our guys, coming together, you just felt there was going to be a moment where our guys would have a chance to make a play, and we scored that goal.”
New England continued to press Montreal (13-11-7, 46 points) before intermission but was unable to create further chances until the second half. And again it was Tierney’s left foot that put the Impact under pressure. In the 69th minute, Tierney stepped up to a free kick from 23 yards and smacked the crossbar.
The Revolution were forced to adjust because of injury for the second time when Sene’s replacement, Dimitry Imbongo, limped off with a hamstring injury in the 63d minute. But Heaps shifted some players and substituted Kevin Alston to play left back.
Montreal was unable to break down New England’s defense for much of the game, but in the 73d minute the Impact came close to scoring when defender Alessandro Nesta flicked a header toward Matt Reis in the Revolution net, but the chance went wide.
New England remained disciplined even as Montreal pressed and made attacking substitutions as it looked to score the equalizer.
Tierney and Fagundez had two chances — in the 74th and 75th minutes — to extend the lead, but missed the net both times. Tierney stepped up to another free kick and picked out Fagundez behind the defense, but the 18-year-old forward’s header went over the bar. Tierney then sent in a cross that skipped off Fagundez’s head.
The win put the Revolution a point behind the Impact, who have played one fewer game, in the battle for one of the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
“We knew these three were the most important three because they’re pulling away,” Heaps said. “We had to clog the middle [in the standings] a little bit here. So, now it’s anyone’s ballgame for the last two spots.”