By Harry Allison
Saphir Taider scored a first-half goal, Clement Diop made three saves, and the Montreal Impact earned a 1-0 win over D.C. United in the MLS is Back Tournament near Orlando.
With their first shutout of the season, the Impact wound up 1-2-0 in Group C, finishing in third place with three points. Montreal now must wait on results in other group-play matches to see if it will advance as one of the top four third-place finishers in the tournament.
Rookie Kevin Paredes had the best chance for D.C. United, who were eliminated from contention at 0-1-2, two points, leaving them last in Group C. United did not hold a single lead during their three matches, which were condensed into a nine-day stretch after delayed travel and coronavirus-testing issues twice delayed their opening match with Toronto FC.
D.C. defender Frederic Brillant had a crucial touch that wrongfooted goalkeeper Bill Hamid on Taider’s goal.
United were without attacking midfielder Edison Flores, who was sidelined due to a leg injury.
Montreal’s 31st-minute goal resulted from the a short corner kick. After Bojan received the short corner, he played a ball to Taider roughly 30 yards from goal. Taider unleashed a long-range effort that may have been heading toward the right post. Instead, Brillant tried to clear the effort away with a back-heel and ultimately turned the shot inside the left post, giving a wrong-footed Hamid little chance.
Taider was still credited with the goal.
Two of Diop’s most important saves came in the space of two minutes. Diop used his feet to push away Ulises Segura’s knuckling effort in the 57th minute, and then he denied the newly inserted Paredes a minute later.
On the other end, Maxi Urruti struck the left post in the 68th minute on a shot from the right side of the penalty area.
Federico Higuain, scorer of two of D.C.’s three goals in the tournament, entered in the 70th minute, but the 35-year-old could not find a late equalizer that would’ve kept United alive.