Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles helplessly watches Maximiliano Urruti score Montreal’s second goal. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)
MONTREAL — If the Red Bulls want to go anywhere in the MLS Cup Playoffs, they cannot duplicate the defensive disaster as they endured in their 3-0 loss to the Montreal Impact Sunday.
Two defensive blunders led to a pair of first-half goals within a nightmare 23-minute span by the hosts, who already had been eliminated from playoff contention.
The result meant the Red Bulls (14-14-6, 48 points) finished and fell to sixth place in the Eastern Conference will play at the third-place Philadelphia Union (16-11-7, 55) in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs either Oct. 19-20.
The Red Bulls were blanked in their final two regular-season matches entering the postseason. They are 1-8-2 against the ninth-place Impact (12-17-5, 41) here.
This how the Red Bulls disintegrated during the opening 45 minutes:
On a long ball played by Montreal, Red Bulls center back Tim Parker lost the ball to Orji Okwonkwo, who sped down the right flank. He raced into the penalty area and slipped a pass to Bojan, who had little problems beating goalkeeper Luis Robles for a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute.
Adding injury to insult, Red Bulls defender Kyle Duncan suffered a right leg injury on the play and was replaced by Panama international defender Michael Amir Murillo.
Murillo was involved in the second Montreal goal in the 37th minute as Jukka Raitala latched onto a through ball off a give-and-go, got past Murillo, who appeared to have knocked down the Montreal player on the left side of the penalty area. No call was made as play continued. Robles came out of the net and Murillo lost the ball to Maximiliano Urruti, who shot from an extreme angle into an empty net for a two-goal bulge.
The Red Bulls were caught napping on the third goal as Okwonkwo beat Parker and then Robles for the final score of the match in the 62nd minute.
Murillo had New York’s best scoring opportunity as he drilled a shot from distance in the 80th minute.