Montreal, Quebec, Canada (October 6, 2018) — It was the Saphir Taïder show north of the border on Saturday.
The 26-year-old attacking midfielder tallied his seventh goal of 2018 while adding two assists as the Montreal Impact routed Columbus Crew SC by a score of 3-0. It was a much-needed result for Montreal who established some distance between them and D.C. United for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Saphir Taïder Impresses for Montreal Impact in Rout of Columbus Crew SC
Taïder’s tally opened up the scoring in the 32nd minute and came via penalty. It was the result of a handball in the box by Crew SC center back Josh Williams. Initially, referee Alan Kelly made no call. But after consulting VAR, it was determined that a cross from Ignacio Piatti glanced off Williams’ outstretched left hand. Taïder made no mistake placing the spot-kick past goalkeeper Zack Steffen.
Montreal doubled their lead 12 minutes later courtesy of Alejandro Silva. In the lead up to the goal, it was Taïder who exhibited an impressive combination of defensive awareness and distributive ability. After intercepting a clearance from Jonathan Mensah, he quickly placed the ball towards an onrushing Silva who dribbled towards goal and hit a shot just outside the box. It beat Steffen to his right to make it 2-0.
The Impact took that two-goal advantage into the break. That forced Columbus to chase the game and push numbers forward. It also left them vulnerable to counterattacks. And their opponent took advantage in the 59th minute. It was Taïder who got things started, wresting possession away near the Columbus box, then dribbling towards midfield. He then found Piatti making a run down the left-hand side. The talented Argentinian playmaker then dribbled towards goal, found space, and hit a shot toward the far post which beat Steffen and made it 3-0.
Nacho being Nacho!
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 6, 2018
It wasn’t just Montreal’s attacking prowess that flummoxed the Black and Gold on Saturday. Goalkeeper Evan Bush turned in a workmanlike performance in net, tallying nine saves. It was a bounce-back day for the native of Concord Township, OH just outside the Cleveland area after he conceded five last week against D.C.
The result puts Columbus in a precarious position in regards to possibly hosting a knockout round game. Though they’re still fourth in the Eastern Conference, they lead the fifth-placed Philadelphia Union by just one point. Should Philly knock off Minnesota United or even draw with them on Saturday night, they’d move ahead of Crew SC in the standings. A draw would put them into a tie with Columbus on points. But the Union own the first tiebreaker which is number of wins.
The Black and Gold now have 15 days off before their next game with next week being a FIFA date. They take on Orlando City SC on October 21 in the penultimate game of the 2018 campaign. The match, Crew SC’s final road tie of the regular season, kicks off at 3 p.m. ET.