Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen punched away Matteo Ferrari’s header in added time as Montreal struggled to a 0-0 draw Saturday to keep the Impact’s Major League Soccer playoff hopes alive.
Montreal picked up its first point in three games since ending its team-record five-game winning streak which had put the expansion team into playoff contention.
The Impact claimed their 40th point with the draw, which kept them unbeaten in their last seven at home. Montreal, which is seventh in the Eastern Conference, had won its six previous home games since a 3-1 loss to Sporting KC on July 4.
The Impact have three games left in their season with two on the road.
Kansas City is undefeated since July 28, with a 5-0-3 streak since a 2-1 home loss to Columbus.
Sporting KC, which leads the East with 56 points, is 8-4-3 on the road this season.
Montreal coach Jesse Marsch signalled his team’s need for the win and its crucial three points when he substituted midfielder Sanna Nyassi for defender Alessandro Nesta 57 minutes in a bid to spur the offence on a rainy afternoon at Saputo Stadium.
The Impact came close when captain Davy Arnaud shot just wide of the left post from the right side of the box in the 69th minute.
Nyassi made a strong run through the right side of the penalty area in the 80th minute but was ridden off by Kansas City defender Seth Sinovic. No foul was called though Sinovic used his right arm to lock up Nyassi.
Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins made a point-blank stop on Kei Kamara 14 minutes in on his way to the clean sheet.
The Impact are 10-3-3 at home this season, including a 2-1-2 mark at Olympic Stadium while renovations were completed at Saputo Stadium to increase its capacity.
Justin Mapp had the Impact’s best opportunity in the first half. His shot went wide of the left post.
Sporting KC midfielder Jacob Peterson was on the bench after coming out of the game when he was shown a red card by referee Jorge Gonzalez in the 90th minute.
Arnaud and Impact midfielder Collen Warner both were shown yellow cards. Warner will miss Montreal’s next game in Houston on Oct. 6.