REUTERS – Didier Drogba scored a brilliant early goal with a 30-yard free kick to give the visiting Montreal Impact a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
The win keeps the Impact in the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The three points pushed Montreal’s season total to 45 points, four ahead of seventh-placed Orlando City. Both teams have two matches remaining in the Major League Soccer regular season.
Just as importantly, the result gives Montreal an outside chance of grabbing second spot. Only three points separate second-placed D.C. United from the Impact. The top two teams in each conference receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
The 37-year-old Drogba scored in the 15th minute after Colorado’s Dillon Powers was yellow carded for a foul on Impact midfielder Andres Romero, who was stretchered off with a right leg injury.
The former Chelsea player’s strike cleared the wall and curled inside the near post, eluding the outstretched hand of Colorado goalkeeper Zac MacMath. It was the ninth goal in as many games for the Ivorian striker.
Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush made a good save deep in stoppage time that preserved the three points for the Impact, who halted a two-game losing streak.
The Rapids are in last place in the Western Conference and have scored a league-low 30 goals.
(Reporting by Tim Wharnsby in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Both)