Defender Daniel Lovitz scored the game-winning goal in the first minute of stoppage time, and Ignacio Piatti scored on a penalty kick to lead the Montreal Impact to a dramatic 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire on Saturday night at Saputo Stadium in Montreal.
Lovitz bounced in a shot past goalie Richard Sanchez from the top of the half-circle outside the penalty box into the left corner of the net after Chicago defender Johan Kappelhof attempted to clear a corner kick. It was Lovitz's first goal of the season.
The win kept the Impact in a tie for fifth place with the Philadelphia Union, who defeated New York City FC, 2-0, earlier Saturday night, in the Eastern Conference. The top six finishers qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs.
Evan Bush had one save for the Impact, who snapped a four-game winless streak that included three draws.
Nemanja Nikolic scored his 11th goal of the season for Chicago, which lost its eighth straight game and fell 10 points behind Montreal and Philadelphia in the battle for the final East playoff spot with just eight games to go.
It took only six minutes for Montreal to take a 1-0 lead. Chicago defender Bastian Schweinsteiger was called for a foul for taking down Impact midfielder Saphir Taider just inside the left side of the 18-yard box. Piatti then converted the penalty kick for his 12th goal of the season, blasting in a shot into the bottom-right corner of the net while Sanchez guessed wrong and dove to the left side.
The Impact had a chance to make it 2-0 just three minutes later, but Taider's header from the center of the box off a nice cross by Bacary Sagna went right of the net. Sagna, a French international with an impressive Premier League resume at Arsenal and Manchester City, was making his Montreal debut after coming over from Benevento Calcio of Serie A earlier in the week.
Nikolic finally tied it, 1-1, in the 70th minute, drilling in his own rebound from the middle of the box after Bush stopped his header from the same spot but allowed the ball to roll right back to the Fire forward.