Defending-champion NYCFC scores early, defeats Montreal 3-1


MONTREAL (AP) — Maximiliano Moralez and Héber scored goals in the first half and defending champion New York City FC went on to defeat CF Montreal 3-1 on Sunday in an Eastern Conference semifinal of the MLS Cup Playoffs.

No. 3-seed NYCFC advances to the conference finals against top-seeded Philadelphia Union on Sunday.

Moralez’s goal in the 6th minute got NYCFC started and Héber made it 2-0 in the 3rd minute of first-half stoppage time, finishing off a breakaway with an assist from Santiago Rodríguez.

Talles Magno, who subbed for Héber just a few minutes earlier, converted a penalty kick in the 61st minute for a 3-0 lead.

NYCFC has won five in a row and is unbeaten in its last five road playoff games.

Djordje Mihailovic scored in the 85th minute for Montreal. He entered the match with goals in the previous two games and assists in the past three.

The loss at Stade Saputo was stunning for Montreal, which was undefeated in five previous home playoff matches. Montreal came into this conference semifinal on a hot streak, having won five of six to finish the regular season before defeating Orlando City 2-0 in a playoff opener.

No. 2-seed Montreal was held to two goals in three matches against NYCFC this season. New York City won 4-1 at home early in the season and the return match in Montreal ended in a scoreless draw.

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