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CF Montreal's Mathieu Choiniere (29) plays a pass as Portland Timbers' Claudio Bravo defends during first half MLS soccer action in Montreal, Saturday, October 7, 2023.Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

CF Montreal took another step toward the Major League Soccer post-season, securing a decisive 4-1 win over the Portland Timbers at Stade Saputo on Saturday.

Sunusi Ibrahim (28th minute), Mahala Opoku (35th), Mathieu Choinière (64th) and Mason Toye (75th) scored for Montreal (12-16-5), which handed Portland (11-12-10) its first loss in seven MLS matches.

The win ends Montreal’s winless run of seven games, the joint-longest in club history.

Montreal has made a habit of beginning its homes games on the front foot with lots of energy, and this game was no different. A different formation from its usual 3-5-2 as a 3-4-3 layout allowed Montreal to dominate the flanks with pace.

That all came to a head right before the half-hour mark when Opoku was played in behind. He then found Ibrahim with a simple pass across the goal area, leaving a comfortable tap-in to give Montreal the lead.

With momentum on their side, Montreal continued the high pressing that had worked so well and found a second goal just seven minutes later. This time it was Ibrahim’s turn to provide Opoku, laying off a pass at the top of the penalty area that the Ghanean forward fired home after it was deflected into the left corner.

As the second half began and Portland looked for a way back into the match, Montreal opted to sit a bit deeper, biding its time and looking for an opportunity on the counter. That opportunity materialized just after the hour mark.

In the 65th minute, Choinière received the ball outside the penalty area. After noticing that goalkeeper David Bigham was out of position in anticipation for a cross, he opted to shoot, catching everyone off guard and adding a third goal on the evening.

Montreal added a fourth 10 minutes later when Toye would hunt down a rebound and scored from a tight angle.

Franck Boli added a consolation goal for Portland in the 85th minute.

The result leaves Montreal with 41 points, currently enough for eighth place in the Easter Conference. Who qualifies for the post-season will go down to the wire as there are currently six teams within three points of one another.


Following a two-week international break, all eyes will be on Decision Day on Oct. 21 as Montreal travels to Columbus to face the Crew while Portland plays host to the Houston Dynamo and the final playoff positions are set.

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