HOUSTON - The Montreal Impact's first season in Major League Soccer won't include a trip to the post-season.
Montreal needed a victory Saturday to remain in the hunt for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but suffered a disappointing 1-1 tie with the Houston Dynamo in a game that Impact head coach Jesse Marsch felt his team should have won.
Sanna Nyassi scored in the 66th minute to tie the game at 1-1, but when he drove into the box in the 85th minute, the Montreal midfielder was taken down by Houston's Bobby Boswell.
Marsch, who was ejected after protesting the non-call, thought there should have been a penalty kick awarded on the play.
"They battled and they deserved to win tonight," Marsch said. "We got a couple breaks. They hit the post. We battled like hell to clear balls off the line, throwing their bodies in front of plays. That's what it takes on the road. That's what it takes against teams like this.
"In the end, that is a penalty on Sanna Nyassi. Print that, print that. Because it is 100 per cent a penalty, and the referee did not have the cojones to make that call."
After Will Bruin gave Houston a 1-0 lead in the 44th minute by slipping a shot past Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins, Nyassi tied the game after burying his own rebound from 15 yards out.
Nyassi had a chance to win it for Montreal in second half stoppage time, but was called offside.
Directly after the play, Brian Ching appeared to have won it for Houston with a last second goal that blooped over Perkins and in, but side referee Jason Callum and head referee Chris Penso conversed and ruled Ching was also offside.
Perkins said the Ching offside call was the right call.
"We are obviously disappointed in a tie," Perkins said. "Questionable call here or there, but it is a good benchmark for us going into next year that we can go on the road like this and get a result. We get a couple results like this during the season and we are in a better situation."
Houston (13-8-11, 50 points) extended its lead to two points over Columbus for fifth place and the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Dynamo had several chances to regain the lead late, with Cam Weaver hitting the near post in the 84th minute and Ching having a shot from in front of the net stopped by Perkins a minute later.
Montreal (12-15-5, 41 points) will now be playing for pride in its final two games at Toronto FC on Oct. 20 and against New England on Oct. 27.
"It hurts because we know we are out," Marsch said. "That part hurts, especially knowing we should have had a late penalty. We are continuing to move this thing along, and the effort the guys put in tonight, and the way they competed for each other was pretty damn good."