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Montreal wins Canadian Championship; Toronto woeful in penalties

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The Montreal Impact are going back to the CONCACAF Champions League after overcoming a blown first leg lead to outlast Toronto FC in penalties at BMO Field on Wednesday.

Jozy Altidore missed a penalty, Patrick Mullins saw his saved by Clement Diop, and Jonathan Osorio banged his effort off of the post as Montreal needed just three conversions to win the Voyageurs Cup.

[ MORE: NYCFC moves closer to No. 1 seed ]

The penalties sure do look awful for the three-time defending Canadian champions, who are obviously no longer defending that title.

Ignacio Piatti’s goal in the first leg staked Montreal to a 1-0 lead, but Tsubasa Endoh scored in the 70th minute of the second leg to push this to kicks. Chris Mavinga saw a straight red in the 84th minute for denial of a goal scoring opportunity.

It’s Montreal’s first win since 2014, and it comes in the biggest Canadian Championship yet (13 teams). The Impact’s four titles are now three behind leaders TFC.

Montreal joins Atlanta United and LAFC as MLS clubs to clinch spots in the 2020 CCL. Mexico’s teams are Cruz Azul, UANL Tigres, Club America, and Leon. Jamaica will send Portmore United, six teams will join from the 2019 CONCACAF League, and two more MLS spots will be awarded by the time the MLS Cup playoffs are complete.

Toronto FC trades Hamilton for Mullins, Revs sign Bou as DP

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A pair of moves took place on Wednesday in Major League Soccer, with immediate impact likely on both ends.

First, the New England Revolution officially announced the signing of Argentinian striker Gustavo Bou on a Designated Player contract, occupying New England’s second DP slot next to Carles Gil. According to reporter Ives Galarcep, Bou cost somewhere around $6-7 million, while the Boston Globe’s Frank Dell’Apa reports that number rises to $12 million guaranteed cost when factoring in his salary, with the potential to rise as high as $16 million.

Bou, a 29-year-old attacker who has played for Argentinian clubs River Plate and Racing Club before most recently arriving from Liga MX side Club Tijuana, comes to New England in good form. He blitzed the most recent Liga MX Clausura, scoring eight goals in 14 matches, finishing with five goals in his last four regular-season matches before grabbing two in his two playoff appearances.

“Gustavo is a versatile, creative forward with a proven history of success who will bring a high level of experience and leadership to the roster,” Revolution head coach Bruce Arena said in the official club release. “We have followed him for a number of years and have confidence he will be an integral part of our success this year and moving forward. We look forward to welcoming him to New England.”

Aside from the big-money Revs signing, there was a significant trade that took place Wednesday, although not yet official. According to The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal, Toronto FC sent 23-year-old academy product Jordan Hamilton to the Columbus Crew in exchange for journeyman striker Patrick Mullins. The deal is significant as Hamilton, a Canadian international, had spent his entire career with Toronto, never truly gaining a consistent foothold in the starting lineup. He is acquired by former Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko who now serves as Columbus Crew president.

With Hamilton leaving his boyhood club with four goals in 14 appearances – including seven starts – this season, the 27-year-old Mullins heads in the opposite direction to join his fifth MLS club. He has yet to score in nine appearances this season – seven of those off the bench – but comes in as an experienced bench option to back up injury-prone Jozy Altidore.

Columbus adds Mullins in bid to strengthen playoff stock

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Patrick Mullins has dropped down the DC United depth chart, and that’s just where Columbus was happy to see him.

Gregg Berhalter and the Crew have scooped up the two-time MAC Hermann Trophy winner as the best college player, sending $150,000 in Targeted Allocation Money to the Black-and-Red.

[ MORE: Kane on ENG loss | Player ratings ]

DC has added Wayne Rooney in addition to Jamaican striker Darren Mattocks.

Mullins, 26, is yet to score this season but has 23 goals and nine assists in five-and-a-half seasons between New England, New York City FC, and DC.

He made just two starts amongst his 10 league appearances this season.

It’s a clever scoop for Columbus, who is trading a league-allocated asset for a regular contributor to MLS score sheets and can produce like Will Bruin with more opportunities.

MLS Snapshot: D.C. United 3-1 New York City FC (video)

Photo credit: D.C. United / Facebook
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The game in 100 words (or less more): If you’ve been waiting for New York City FC’s (seemingly) inevitable collapse as they breezed through the second half of the 2016 season — locking up a place in the playoffs and making a serious push for the Eastern Conference’s top spot perhaps a year ahead of schedule, in Patrick Vieira’s first season — happy Sunday to you. Entering Sunday, no team occupying a playoff place had conceded more goals than NYCFC (53), which will ultimately be their season’s deathblow. On Sunday, they ran into a buzzsaw D.C. United side (yes, you read that right) which had won three straight, by a combined score of 9-2. The goals kept flowing in this one, as Patrick Mullins, Bobby Boswell and Rob Vincent made it 3-0 to the home side before the halftime whistle. The victory sees United clinch their place in the playoffs, guaranteeing no worse than a fifth-place finish, and leapfrog the Montreal Impact for fourth place in the race to host a knockout-round game. NYCFC, meanwhile, fall to three points back of the New York Red Bulls for the top spot in the East, but remain second thanks to Toronto FC’s draw with the Impact.

[ MORE: Playoff Picture — 6 teams can clinch playoff berth this weekend ]

Three moments that mattered

27′ — Mullins arrives late at the back post for 1-0 — Luciano Acosta plays Lloyd Sam down the right flank, and Sam slides the ball across the face of goal for Patrick Mullins, who hammers it past the goalkeeper. United’s opening goal is exactly how they drew it up.

31′ — Boswell heads the corner home for 2-0 — Speaking of just how they drew it up, here’s Sam floating a free kick into the penalty area, and Boswell, the biggest player on the field, going up and getting it to double the lead.

45′ — Disaster at the back for NYCFC, and it’s 3-0 — See, what happened here was… it was bad. Just bad.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Lloyd Sam

Goalscorers: Mullins (27′), Boswell (31′), Vincent (45′), Villa (72′ – PK)

MLS Snapshot: DC United 1-1 Montreal Impact (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): The Montreal Impact found themselves a goal down and struggling for scoring chances against D.C. United through Didier Drogba‘s 81 minutes on the field Sunday, only to nab an unlikely equalizer five minutes after the big Ivorian was sent to an early shower for what will surely go down as the dumbest red card of the year. Patrick Mullins marked his United debut with a goal 20 minutes in, but Hernan Bernardello, making his Impact re-debut, bagged that equalizer with the Black and Red oh so close to all three points. With the result, United remain eighth in the Eastern Conference, three points back of  the sixth and final playoff place (as of this posting), while the Impact miss out on their chance to go second in the East, instead holding steady in fourth (as of this posting).

[ MORE: Previewing the rest of the MLS weekend ]

Three moments that mattered 

20′ — Mullins heads home for 1-0 on his debut — Only traded to United this week, Mullins made an instant impact by rising above his marker and heading home 20 minutes into his debut.

31′ — Piatti hits the post with the net wide open — Ignacio Piatti might just be the MVP of the league this year, but he won’t unseat Sebastian Giovinco if he can’t finish empty-net chances like this one.

81′ — Drogba puts a knee into Marcelo’s back, sees red — It doesn’t get much more petulant than this from Drogba. And with the referee right there. Like, right there.

86′ — Bernardello sends a laser past Hamid for 1-1 — Bill Hamid doesn’t get beaten at his near post often, if ever. That, in itself, is an indication of just how well Bernardello hit this ball.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Luciano Acosta

Goalscorers: Mullins (20′), Bernardello (86′)