MONTREAL — Jose Goncalves scored in the 31st minute and the New England Revolution kept their MLS playoff hopes alive with a 1-0 victory over the Impact on Saturday that extended Montreal’s winless streak to five games.
The Revolution (12-11-9) stretched their unbeaten string to four games and moved within a point of the Impact (13-11-7), Philadelphia and Chicago for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The top five teams in each conference advance to the playoffs.
The win, however, was tempered by the loss of forward Saer Sene to a broken leg.
Sene was taken off on a stretcher after getting injured in the 19th minute when his foot got caught between Davy Arnaud’s legs while going for a ball in the Montreal penalty area.
The Revolution announced Sene’s status on Twitter after the game, saying he dislocated his left ankle and broke his left fibula.
The crowd of 18,917 went silent when Sene went down and lay on the pitch in agony with his foot pointing the wrong way.
“I feel really bad about what happened,” Arnaud said. “It looks like it’s a really bad injury. I think it was a good tackle. I won the ball clean, but his foot might have got caught underneath me. You never want to see that happen. I still feel bad about it. I hope he’s OK.”
No foul was called as Arnaud got to the ball first.
“You run into situations on the field that are bigger than the game,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. “Everyone’s heart went out to him.
“It’s devastating for both teams. But the response from our guys — you just felt there would be a moment when our guys had a chance to make a play. We got that goal almost 10 minutes after that incident, so I was really happy with that.”
Juan Agudelo just missed heading in a free kick, but New England got the ball back for Diego Fagundez to slip it across the area for Goncalves to score his second of the season.
New England’s defense did the rest as it clogged up the middle of the field and didn’t allow league scoring co-leader Marco Di Vaio and his Impact teammates many good looks at the goal.
A victory against the Revolution would have greatly strengthened the Impact’s hopes of reaching the postseason in their second year in MLS, but they came out flat. New England had the lion’s share of scoring chances and allowed Montreal few opportunities.
“I think we’re all a little bit shocked,” Montreal captain Arnaud said. “Considering how big the game was, something was missing.
Montreal will play in Los Angeles without Arnaud or defender Matteo Ferrari, who each will serve one-game suspensions for picking up a fifth yellow card.
Coach Marco Schallibaum and the players spoke all week of the importance of beating New England, but they weren’t in the game from the start.
“We weren’t good today,” said Schallibaum, whose team has one of a possible 15 points from its last five matches. “We didn’t get much penetration in the box.
“It was more in the head than in the legs. Now we have to pick ourselves up and get ready for the next game.”
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