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MONTREAL -- No matter how they got there, the Montreal Impact are relieved just to be - Printable Version

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MONTREAL -- No matter how they got there, the Montreal Impact are relieved just to be - carrie201918 - 07-16-2019

MONTREAL -- No matter how they got there, the Montreal Impact are relieved just to be part of the Major League Soccer playoffs. After losing their regular season finale in Toronto on Saturday, the Impact could only sit and watch as other teams decided their playoff fate. Finally, a 5-2 win by the New York Red Bulls over the Chicago Fire gave them fifth place and the final Eastern Conference post-season berth. Montreal (14-13-7) will face the fourth-place Dynamo (14-11-9) in Houston on Thursday night in a one-game playoff. "In the end, were still alive. Thats very positive," coach Marco Schallibaum said Monday. "We were on life support. "We were very frustrated on Saturday. But were still alive and we have another chance." If the Impact win, they will play host to the first-place Red Bulls in the first leg of their semifinal at Saputo Stadium on Sunday, with the second leg later in the week in New York. It was a shocking way to end the season for Montreal, which dominated the first four months while building a 9-3-2 record but went flat with a 5-10-5 record after that. They were 1-6-1 in their final eight games. Even Impact defender Matteo Ferrari wonders if they deserved to make it. "I was sure that New York was going to win the game but still, even if they won, we dont merit (it)," the Italian centreback said. "I want to be honest because everyone knows, we dont merit right now. "We merit before, for sure, because we played almost perfect at the beginning of the season. Now we have to get back to where we were." Captain Davy Arnaud was having none of that. He was hosting his daughters birthday party on Sunday, but couldnt resist putting MLS games on the television to see what his teams fate would be. Depending on the results, they could have ended the day anywhere from third to sixth place. He said that even if the team played badly down the stretch, they did enough to continue for at least another day. "We got into the playoffs off our performance over a 34-game season," he said. "Our form hasnt been the best of late and our results at the end of the season werent what we wanted, but everyone plays 34 games and you finish where you deserve, regardless of what other people do. "We needed some help after our result in Toronto, but I look at what weve done (all season)." The club made progress by reaching the playoffs in only its second season in MLS. They finished seventh with a 12-16-6 record as an expansion team in 2012. They also won the Amway Canadian Championship and set a record for a Canadian MLS club with 49 points. If they beat Houston, the Impact will be the first Canadian team to reach a conference semifinal. Vancouver was beaten in a playoff knockout game last year. "Its a big step," said Arnaud. "We should be proud of the fact that, in the second season of this group being together, we got into the playoffs because its not easy. "To be honest, with the way we started the season, we were a little disappointed that were finishing fifth because we know we can be a good team. But we still have a chance to be playing on the last day, and thats important." They should have some help against Houston. While centreback Alessandro Nesta wont be able to return from a calf injury, midfielder Patrice Bernier said he will be back from a hip injury and Schallibaum said central defender Nelson Rivas, who hasnt played this season due to chronic bad knees, should be able to play at least the final 20 minutes. Left back Jeb Brovsky, who has been out two weeks with a broken toe, is back training at full speed as well. Montreal beat the Dynamo twice at home this season by 2-0 and 5-0, but lost 1-0 in Houston on Oct. 4. They are 0-2-1 in Houston over two seasons. The Dynamo are tough at home. The orange-clad side led by Giles Barnes and Will Bruin reached the final last season. "Theyre very good and experienced," said Arnaud. "They had to win on the last day to get in, but if theres one team in the league that knows how to get the job done in the playoffs its Houston. "They find a way to step up and play at a different level and we have to be prepared for that." Houston may not want any part of the Red Bulls. New York went 3-0 against the Dynamo and outscored them 9-1 this season. Montreal beat the Red Bulls at home 1-0 early in the season, then lost by 2-1 and 4-0 in New York. They havent met since July 13. The Seattle Sounders play host to the Colorado Rapids in a Western Conference playoff game on Thursday, with the winner advancing to a semifinal against the Portland Timbers. Custom Atlanta Falcons Jerseys . With the Pirates in the thick of the race in the NL Central, the timing couldnt be better. Liriano struck out a season-high 11 in seven innings to win consecutive starts for the first time this season and Pittsburgh beat the San Francisco Giants 3-1 on Tuesday night. John Cominsky Jersey . Andrews, Scotland - Oliver Wilson fired a final- round, 2-under 70 on Sunday and he held on to win the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship by one shot. Hes the same player he always was, only now his efforts are being rewarded. The rookie manager has made a habit of heaping praise on others when things are going well, and accepting criticism when they arent.  But in the case of Hurtado, its what the coach is NOT saying that may be the secret to a superb run of form. Julio Jones Womens Jersey . LOUIS - Two-thirds of the St. Tony Gonzalez Falcons Jersey . -- Blake Griffin scored 32 points and grabbed eight rebounds, DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 22 rebounds and the Los Angeles Clippers outlasted the Golden State Warriors 98-96 on Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.INDIANAPOLIS -- This time, Ryan Tannehill was the one celebrating in Indianapolis. And Miamis defence had Andrew Luck fuming. The Dolphins second-year quarterback matched his counterpart virtually throw-for-throw Sunday. Tannehill did a better job managing his teams offence in the second half and cheered his defence after it thwarted yet another Colts comeback bid to hold on for a 24-20 victory. "Its nice to win and thats the important thing no matter who we are going against. Its nice to win," Tannehill said. "I think he (Luck) did a good job, I dont really know what his numbers were, but from what I saw, he did a great job of moving around the pocket, but the defence really stepped up and made a play when it counted." Tannehill was just better Sunday. It was a stark contrast from a year ago, when the two first-round draft picks met as rookies. Luck stole the show that day by throwing for an NFL rookie record 433 yards and two scores as he delivered a three-point win. In Sundays meeting, with a chance to show everyone how much he and the Dolphins (2-0) had progressed, Tannehill was the winner. While the two quarterbacks finished with similar numbers -- Tannehill was 23 of 34 for 319 yards and one touchdown, while Luck was 25 of 43 for 321 yards and one TD -- the difference came down to managing mistakes. Tannehill lost a third down fumble at his 39 in the third quarter, but all the Colts could get was a go-ahead field goal. Luck, however, stopped one fourth-quarter scoring chance by forcing a deep throw to Reggie Wayne that was picked off by Brent Grimes in the end zone. Luck had a chance to make amends after driving the Colts (1-1) to the Miami 23-yard line with 1:45 left in the game. Miami, however, forced three straight incompletions and refused to allow the suddenly elusive Luck to escape the pass rush on fourth down. All Tannehill had to do then was pick up one first down, kneel down once and shake hands with the guy hes been following since they were Texas high school stars. Luck, who has engineered eight fourth-quarter comebacks in 18 games, blamed himself for the loss. "I guess Im a little angry at myself," Luck said. "Again, credit to them, they put us in all these situations, but I feel like we are a better team than what we showwed out there.dddddddddddd" The Dolphins, meanwhile, couldnt have been happier. They started fast, jumping to a 14-3 lead after two possessions, rallied twice and shut down the Colts when they needed, too. High-priced free-agent Mike Wallace was a little happier with his performance Sunday, finishing with nine receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown a week after making only one catch in his Miami debut. Lamar Miller averaged nearly 5 yards per carry, running 14 times for 69 yards and a touchdown. Charles Clay had five catches for 109 yards and only one carry -- a 1-yard TD run with 4:40 left in the third quarter, which turned out to be the games decisive score and stood up to a replay review. That, and a staunch defence late was enough for the Dolphins to hold on. "You have to be balanced to win football games. You cant really win a football game by just throwing the whole game," Wallace said. "You have to mix it up." The Dolphins didnt shy away from trading jabs, especially after Indy piled up 315 yards of offence in the first half, their highest first-half total in seven years. The Colts finished with 438 yards, but couldnt put Miami away after taking a 17-14 lead in the first half and a 20-17 lead early in the third quarter after Tannehills fumble. But Miami made all the big plays after that -- the 34-yard completion from Tannehill to Wallace that set up Clays rushing score, the third down conversions to keep Luck & Co. off the field and the two big fourth-quarter stops. "Our guys wanted to play them, we wanted to compete," Miami coach Joe Philbin said. "They were ready for a 60-minute game and we knew we would have to make some plays to win." Notes: Indy lost left guard Donald Thomas in the first quarter with a torn quad tendon that is likely to end his season. The Colts also played the second half without Darius Heyward-Bey, who injured his ribs. ... The Dolphins snapped a four-game losing streak in this series. ... Luck had the NFLs longest active streak with 165 straight passes without an interception before Grimes picked him off. ... Miami scored 14 points in the first quarter for the first time since 2011, a span of 25 games. ... T.Y. Hilton had a career-high 124 yards receiving on six catches for Indy. ' ' '