MONTREAL — CF Montreal's MLS playoff hopes come down to their final game of the regular season after a 2-0 win Wednesday over the Houston Dynamo.
A must-win showdown Sunday against Orlando City SC just two points ahead of Montreal in the Eastern Conference will determine if Montreal continues into the post-season.
“It’s a good feeling in the locker room right now because we won a very important game, but Sunday is the most important game," said Montreal's Djordje Mihailovic.
"It’s the game of the season. Every ounce of our energy has to be towards that game.”
Rudy Camacho and Kamal Miller were the goalscorers Wednesday for Montreal (12-11-10).
Knowing a win kept them in control of their own destiny, Montreal came out of the gate swinging in an effort to take the lead early. Houston (6-16-12) appeared happy to sit back and absorb the pressure.
While Montreal carried nearly 64 per cent of possession, they mustered just three shots on target, created mostly half-chances and did little to trouble Dynamo keeper Kyle Morton.
“Emotionally, it was not an easy game, so I’m happy because the guys started the game in a good way,” Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy said.
Montreal's best chance of the half came six minutes before time. Sunusi Ibrahim found himself all alone in front of the Houston goal, only to let the Dynamo off the hook by sending the ball right into Morton’s waiting hands.
Houston was more aggressive in the second half. They dominated possession and almost took the lead on three occasions.
“(Houston) had a few chances, but that’s normal,” Mihailovic said. “The best teams always find a way to score in the most difficult games.”
In the 51st minute, Griffin Dorsey nearly shocked the Saputo Stadium crowd when his header grazed the post on its way wide.
Montreal’s pressure finally paid off before the hour mark. A mad scramble off a corner sent the ball right to Camacho, whose backheel opened the scoring from a couple feet out.
A galvanized Montreal added to the lead just four minutes later when Miller got on the end of a corner for his first career MLS goal.
“It’s crazy. I enjoyed it a lot, the fans and helping my team and get them in a position to make the playoffs,” Miller said. “Me and Rudy always talk about how it’s time to step up so we just wanted to help the team out in a big game.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2021.