D.C. United fell on the road, dropping points to CF Montreal. While the 1-0 loss certainly stings, it could have been much worse for the Black-and-Red.
Montreal was without leading goal scorer Romell Quioto due to international duty. His absence should have given the Black-and-Red some breathing room during tonight's match.
End-to-end action throughout the first half looked promising for D.C. United. In the opening minutes of the match, Victor Pálsson nearly capitalized on a set piece situation to open the scoring. While his header went wide, the play buoyed hopes that the Black-and-Red would find the back of the net first.
CF Montreal also created their share of dangerous chances, being quick to turnover and counter. Lassi Lappalainen had a dangerous opportunity, slipping around David Ochoa in the box to shoot on an open net. Thankfully for the Black-and-Red, his shot didn't find purchase.
Martín Rodríguez found Christian Benteke squared up with James Pantemis in the 21' with a cross. While Benteke tried to send the shot in with a header, there was just a little too much spice on the ball, and it soared over the crossbar.
Both Miguel Berry and Chris Durkin tried to keep a good forward play alive in the 35' but faced a deflection and then too much traffic. Unfortunately, the situation wouldn't change as the Black-and-Red struggled to find an opening during the resulting set piece.
Lappalainen continued to create trouble for D.C. throughout the half. In the 36', he sped down the pitch on a breakaway run, curling around Sami Guediri to take another shot at Ochoa.
Despite Montreal creating danger with their repeated quick counter-attacks, the Bleu-Blanc-Noir didn't score against D.C. United, despite taking 13 shots with three on goal. Instead, it was a deflection off defender Donovan Pines in the 41' that gave Montreal the go-ahead and all three points. Montreal's Mason Toye slid into the net after the ball but didn't receive credit for the goal.
41' Quelle offensive! Et on ouvre la marque— x - CF Montréal (@cfmontreal) October 2, 2022
What a team play! #MTLvDC | 1-0 | #CFMTL pic.twitter.com/vytrbcX3DS
The Black-and-Red headed to the locker room down at the half, needing to dig deep for a second-half comeback.
D.C. United found plenty of chances to break through Montreal's defenses, but luck wasn't on the Black-and-Red's side. Christian Benteke had several good opportunities that Pantemis denied. The Montreal keeper even caught out Benteke in a clever moment where he barely touched the ball and had attempted to slot it in.
75' Belle sortie de James Pantemis pour faire l'arrêt.— x - CF Montréal (@cfmontreal) October 2, 2022
James makes himself big to stop Benteke #MTLvDC | 1-0 | #CFMTL pic.twitter.com/ur9V7qMtIC
It was certainly not Donovan Pines night. The homegrown center back was attempting to stop Ismael Koné from making a breakaway run toward D.C.'s goal and ended up shoving Koné from behind. While it looked like Pines was trying to catch himself - he was off balance - he was promptly booked with red.
Perhaps more threatening to the Black-and-Red was the ensuing penalty kick awarded to Montreal. It seemed inevitable that the Bleu-Blanc-Noir would be up 2-0 in no time at all.
David Ochoa played the scenario masterfully. Pacing back and forth along his line, he disrupted Joaquín Torres just enough to get a read on him and make the save. For the moment, D.C. United's hopes for finding an equalizer were still alive.
David Ochoa save from the spot!— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 2, 2022
A big stop keeps it a one-goal game. #LetsFly pic.twitter.com/nC7DQ4MRSp
As the final moments of the match ticked by, D.C. United's chances of taking home a point became slimmer. Montreal took all three points at the final whistle without even scoring a goal.
Head coach Wayne Rooney is looking toward what needs to be done for next season. He said, "There's a lot of work to be done in order for us to actually become a playoff team. In the offseason, it's really important that we get the right pieces to the team to allow us to do that."
D.C. United returns home to play its final match of the 2022 MLS Season on October 9 against FC Cincinnati.
Watch the highlights from Team Name vs. D.C. United
MLS Regular Season - Game 33
CF Montreal: 1 Donovan Pines 41' (OG)
CF Montreal: (3-5-2) James Pantemis, Rudy Camacho, Joel Waterman, Gabriele Corbo, Mathieu Choinière (Samuel Piette 69’), Ismael Koné (Rida Zouhir 83’), Victor Wanyama, Lassi Lappalainen (Jojea Kwizera 45’), Zachary Brault-Guillard (Alistair Johnston 69’), Mason Toye (Kei Kamara 62’), Joaquín Torres
D.C. United: (4-4-2) David Ochoa, Steve Birnbaum, Donovan Pines, Sami Guediri, Victor Pálsson (Chris Odoi-Atsem 68’), Miguel Berry (Ted Ku-DiPietro 81’), Sofiane Djeffal (Tony Alfaro 81’), Chris Durkin, Christian Benteke, Martín Rodríguez (Kimarni Smith 69’), Jackson Hopkins (Ravel Morrison 64’)
D.C. United: Hopkins 51', Pines 79' (red card), Benteke 90' + 4'