Romell Quioto played with a heavy heart Sunday, yet still did enough to put the Montreal Impact into the playoffs.
The Honduran forward had a hand in all three Impact goals Sunday, including a game-winning goal in the 88th minute, in a 3-2 victory over D.C. United at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.
The win clinched a playoff berth for the Impact (8-13-2) and the team will enter the postseason as the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference. D.C. United (5-12-6) also needed a victory to make the playoffs, but the loss eliminated them from playoff contention.
“Today, we showed character,” Impact manager Thierry Henry said.
Quioto’s home country has been battered by Hurricane Eta. Local officials say the storm has led to 21 deaths in Honduras.
After scoring the go-ahead goal, Quioto raced to the sidelined and celebrated with his teammates while holding a flag of Honduras. The 29-year-old also showed off the flag during his media availability after the match.
“I’m very sad with what’s currently happening in my country,” Quioto said. “I really trust that (through) God that all the people who are suffering can be better. I want to send my people all my love and support as well as my trust in God.”
“I’m really happy for him because he put this difficult thing on the side,” teammate Bojan said.
Montreal snapped a three-game losing streak with its first victory since a 2-1 win against Inter Miami on Oct. 17.
Following an opening goal from D.C. United’s Donovan Pines, Quioto assisted on Bojan’s opening goal of the game as he fought off numerous D.C. United defenders before passing the ball through the penalty area. Bojan was first to the ball and he equalized at the 13th minute.
Ola Kamara gave the home team a 2-1 lead 20 minutes later, but Montreal would eventually even the score in the 74th minute after a Victor Wanyama goal assisted by Quioto.
Wanyama produced a spectacular performance which enabled him to be named man of the match. The Kenya international inspired their win which now ensured a place in play offs in two weeks time.
Quioto’s game-winner would eventually come moments from stoppage time after receiving a pass from Mason Toye, giving the Impact the lead for good.
Montreal will play New England in the Eastern Conference play-in round Nov. 20.