Riding a bit of momentum from two lopsided victories, the Columbus Crew strode into Stade Saputo on Saturday night and were shut out by one of the worst teams in Major League Soccer. Ignacio Piatti, signed to a Designated Player contract during the recent transfer window, scored both goals from defensive miscues by the Crew.
Despite the surprising loss, Columbus remains in playoff position - at least for now. New York could yet leapfrog Columbus with a victory Sunday against DC United.
Coach Gregg Berhalter turned to the same lineup that proved so effective against Houston, and at times the assembled players produced sustained pressure in Montreal. Despite holding the edge in most passing and possession categories, however, the team were unable to produce many threatening scoring chances. One of the best, late in the game from a corner kick, ended when Tony Tchani's header sailed directly into the hands of Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush.
Beyond the goals, most of Montreal's dangerous chances involved Piatti. The first time either goalkeeper was put under pressure in the game it was Piatti doing the honors, forcing Clark to punch his shot over the crossbar after 30 minutes.
Four minutes later, it was Piatti's run that drew Tony Tchani into a rash challenge in midfield. Tchani's reward for that effort was a yellow card, which automatically suspends him for the Crew's game next weekend.Tchani's midfield partner, Wil Trapp, will also miss the game against Chivas USA after picking up a caution of his own late in the second half.
What it means
Columbus remains on 33 points with the loss, now from 26 games played. They sit level with New England (25 games) and Toronto (24) in a 3-way tie for 3rd place in the Eastern Conference. New York could leapfrog the entire group with a victory Sunday in DC.
Montreal's victory pushes them up to 20 points from 25 games played. Their record is still the worst in Major League Soccer, four points fewer than even Chivas USA.
Columbus will play three of four games at home in September, starting next weekend when they host Chivas USA. Following that contest, the Crew will travel to Houston before hosting New England and Montreal in the latter half of the month.
Timeline of events
7' Corner kick, Montreal (left side - headed clear)
12' Corner kick, Columbus (left side - short, offside called on second cross)
24' Corner kick, Montreal (right side - foul called on Montreal)
30' Corner kick, Montreal (left side - shot high)
32' Corner kick, Montreal (right side - short, no shot taken)
32' Caution, Ignacio Piatti (professional foul on Waylon Francis)
34' Caution, Tony Tchani (professional foul on Ignacio Piatti)
40' 0-1 Ignacio Piatti (Felipe Martins)
59' Hector Jimenez replaces Eric Gehrig
62' Maxim Tissot replaces Dilly Duka
64' Caution, Hassoun Camara (dangerous tackle on Federico Higuain)
68' Aaron Schoenfeld replaces Adam Bedell
69' Caution, Evan Bush (delay of game)
72' Corner kick, Columbus (left side - headed clear)
76' Ben Speas replaces Justin Meram
78' Corner kick, Columbus (left side - cleared out)
78' Corner kick, Columbus (right side - caught by Bush)
80' Calum Mallace replaces Patrice Bernier
81' Caution, Wil Trapp (professional foul on Ignacio Piatti)
84' Corner kick, Columbus (right side - no shot taken)
86' Caution, Waylon Francis
88' Eric Miller replaces Andres Romero
91+ Corner kick, Columbus (left side - headed shot saved)
94+ 0-2 Ignacio Piatti (unassisted)
Steve Clark, Eric Gehrig (Hector Jimenez 59'), Michael Parkhurst, Tyson Wahl, Waylon Francis, Wil Trapp, Tony Tchani, Ethan Finlay, Federico Higuain, Justin Meram (Ben Speas 76'), Adam Bedell (Aaron Schoenfeld 68')
Matt Lampson, Chad Barson, Kevan George, Romain Gall
Evan Bush, Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Wandrille Lefevre, Krzysztof Krol, Andres Romero (Eric Miller 88'), Patrice Bernier (Calum Mallace 80'), Dilly Duka (Maxim Tissot 62'), Felipe Martins, Ignacio Piatti, Marco Di Vaio
Troy Perkins, Karl Ouimette, Issey Nakajima-Farran, Jack McInerney