The Montreal Impact didn’t exactly get the result they wanted Saturday night, but they picked up a valuable point as they look to hold onto a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Impact came back from one-goal deficit as Jukka Raitala scored his first MLS goal to tie the match in the 55th minute with a long-distance blast in Montreal’s 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake.
“Of course we would’ve liked to come away with the three points, and the players showed it because we had a good second half,” said Impact head coach Remi Garde.
“We created throughout the entirety of the game a lot of chances. If we were a little more efficient, we could’ve taken the three points, but we need to be satisfied with the one we earned.”
Montreal sits in the sixth and final playoff spot with 30 points in the Eastern Conference and has nine games remaining. The New England Revolution are in seventh with 29 points and have two games in hand.
Joao Plata opened the scoring with a penalty kick in the 26th minute, slotting it in the lower left corner with goalkeeper Evan Bush going the wrong way. Plata drew the penalty when Ken Krolicki brought him down in the box.
Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando made a diving save on Alejandro Silva’s shot in the 89th minute to preserve the tie.
Impact midfielder Saphir Taider said the club lacked the finishing touch needed to beat a Real Salt Lake team that has lost just once at home this season.
“There was room to win,” said Tader.
“We’re a little disappointed to not come away with three points. The last pass was missing at times and we could’ve been better technically. Some things didn’t work. We’re not leaving happy, but we’ll take the point and get back to work on Monday for our next home game.”
Bush had a pair of diving saves for Montreal in the second half.
Silva, who assisted Raitala’s marker, tied Ignacio Piatti for the club lead with nine helpers this season, one shy of the Impact’s franchise record.
Real Salt Lake (10-9-5) is unbeaten in its last four matches and has scored in 18 consecutive home matches, going 14-1-3 during that span. Montreal (9-13-3) snapped a three-game winless streak.