2015 MLS Cup Playoffs: Montreal's Stellar First Half Performance Extends Their Season
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2015 MLS Cup Playoffs: Montreal's Stellar First Half Performance Extends Their Season

Montreal scored three goals in the first 30 minutes en route to a dominating performance over Toronto to secure their spot in the next round.

Kyle Sennikoff

For the second time in four days, the Montreal Impact defeated Toronto FC, this time by a 3-0 score at the Stade Saputo. Three defensive mistakes from the hosts in the opening half an hour from was the cause of the red's demise. 

The first defensive mistake came in the 18th minute. Jackson Gonçalves was caught out of position in the middle of the pitch which allowed Ignacio Piattia to roam in acres of spaceHe slipped the ball in between the central defenders towards a sprinting Patrice Bernier and the club captain placed the shot perfectly into the bottom right corner of the goal.  

After receiving treatment on the sideline, Didier Drogba unleashed a shot from well outside the 18 yard box that was caught comfortably by Chris Konopka. However, as Toronto began to clear out from the back Josh Williams slipped which allowed Piatti to race onto the errant pass before putting his effort past the Toronto shot stopper.  

Toronto did not necessarily make a defensive mistake on the third goal that they gave up, however, the defenders were unaware of where all the Montreal men inside the area were. Bernier's initial attempt got cleared off the line by Justin Morrow. He eventually found Drogba waiting at the other end of the six yard box. The veteran forward made no mistake with his shot, firing his shot into the empty net.

As the second half began to unfold, the opportunities for both sides came few and far between with Montreal knowing that their spot in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals had been all but secured. 

In the 51st minute, one of Toronto's first chances of the evening fell to Sebastian Giovinco who had been quiet for a majority of the first half. He stood over the ball from beyond the eighteen yard box and still forced Evan Bush to make a good reaction save as he dove to the left to keep his clean sheet. With 17 minutes remaining, Morrow tried his luck from over 25 yards away and only missed by a couple of yards. 

Then Montreal essentially killed the game off coming into the final 15 minutes when Piatti went close a couple of times. His first, came in the 15th minute when he got free inside the 18 yard box but missed a glorious chance by hitting his effort wide of the far post. Four minutes later, Piatti nearly found the fourth goal but this time, it was the post who denied the 30-year-old. 

With their dominate victory over Toronto, the stage is set for Mauro Biello and his men as they will host the Columbus Crew on Sunday before traveling to Ohio the following week.