What started out as a moment of optimism turned out to be fatal foreshadowing.
The Chicago Fire opened the scoring with perhaps their best team goal of the year as Kennedy Igboananike curled one around Montreal goal keeper Evan Bush from the right side of the box. It was the culmination of a beautiful breakout that included a great pass from Arturo Alvarez and another from Gilberto to set up the unexpected goal.
Montreal had been dominating possession and pressing, but Igboananike's strike changed the momentum and had fans thinking three points. Roughly 61 minutes later, Ignacio Piatti would score a mirror image goal to Igboananike's and give his team the 2-1 victory.
After plenty of near chances in the waning minutes of the match, Montreal finally found its moment in extra time as Piatti received a ball on the right side of the box and curled one around Matt Lampson for the win. Fire defender Rodrigo Ramos, who made a crucial bicycle kick clearance just a little while before, gave Piatti just enough space to score the winner.
It was a result that seemed like it was coming, despite the 1-0 advantage the Fire enjoyed going into the half. Montreal dominated possession in both halves and kept pressing, even after tying the game at one courtesy of Didier Drogba back heel.
But the Impact's pressing started early - as in like two minutes into the game early. Dominic Oduro got his busy day started with a sliding effort as he tried to get on the end of a Johan Venegas cross. Oduro couldn't connect and would continue to miss the handful of chances his speed created.
The Fire quickly responded in the fourth minute when center back John Kappelhof sent a bomb from midfield that found the head of Kennedy Igboananike, who missed his diving attempt just wide. Chicago responded much more in the first half than in the second.
The best chance in the first half for the Impact came in the 11th minute when Kyle Bekker sent a free kick into the box and Hassoun Camara rose up to get a head on it. The header got past Matt Lampson but Jonathan Campbell was there to clear the effort off the line and keep the clean sheet.
After a Harry Shipp shot in the 21st minute that went over the bar, Campbell was called on again. Montreal left back Donny Toia sent in a cross that Lampson attempted to punch out but missed. Veneers gathered the ball and Campbell blocked the shot before it could get on target.
Three minutes, the Fire took advantage of one of their rare opportunities and put the ball in the back of the net. It was one of the best team goals of the year, coming off a quick break that started with a Kappelhof header to clear the box. Michael Stephens then delivered another header to Alvarez who made his key pass to Gilberto. Gilberto found Igboananike to his left and wide open.
Though it looked like Igboananike might try to cross the ball to a streaking John Goossens on the other side, he composed himself and sent in a curler for the score.
Montreal would have one more chance in the first half as Shipp forces diving save from Lampson.
The Chicago Fire started the second half with Matt Polster coming in for Alvarez, which proved to be helpful in bringing a bit more balance to the possession discrepancy. Unfortunately, Montreal also made a substitution about five minutes later, bringing on Drogba for Venegas. Drogue needed only six minutes to get on the score sheet.
The goal came after Lampson played a poor pass that went straight to Oduro. Oduro played a low cross in to Drogba who was standing in the center of the box. The savvy veteran did a quick back heel to beat the keeper.
The Fire had one more excellent chance in the game thanks to a determined Polster run up the left side. After seemingly taking on the majority of the Impact defense, Polster found himself on the endline and played a pass back to space. Rookie Alex Morrell quickly jumped on the opportunity and forced a great save from Evan Bush.
Montreal threatened throughout, especially on corner kicks where substitute Wandrille Lefevre nearly scored twice - once on a header that went wide and the other on a one-touch volley that Lampson grabbed.
In the end it was Piatti's fantastic strike, the one so very similar to Igboananike's, that propelled Montreal to victory in a game they mostly controlled. Montreal ended up with seven shots on target compared to Chicago's two and had 58.2 percent of the possession.
Chicago fell to 1-2-3 on the year and out of playoff position while Montreal remains atop the Eastern Conference at 4-2-0.