Category Archives: Montreal Impact

Montreal Impact

Montréal Impact claim a vital road win in Battle of the Bells

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve Powell // @evejulia9

Saturday, September 15: 1-4 Win

It’s that time of year. The race to the playoffs is in full swing, and it’s getting tighter with each passing match. Montréal Impact had firmly ensconced themselves into the sixth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot after a truly complete home win against first-placed (at the time) New York Red Bulls. It was now time to take the road to face the fifth-placed Philadelphia Union in one of the many six-point matches left of the season. Travels had not been kind to Montréal this year, as they had collected a mere 8 points on the road going into the City of Brotherly Love.

Rémi Garde led with what many believe to be the strongest starting eleven presented this season. There was only one change from the 3-0 win over the Red Bulls, with Rudy Camacho returning to central defense as Jukka Raitala took the bench. Quincy Amarikwa’s physicality and dynamism, two qualities which had been sorely missing up front, was rewarded with another start for the league veteran.

After a tepid start, the Impact were caught sleeping on a corner, as defender Austin Trusty got the jump on his marker and scored his first career goal. Following the goal, it seemed as though the Impact had deflated, much as had been the case every time they had trailed in the scoreline this season. Indeed, Montréal had only collected one point after going behind in the scoring. As the Union enjoyed extended periods of possession, it appeared as though the Impact were going to let three crucial points slip through their fingers.

However, fans of the Bleu-Blanc-Noir would be pleasantly surprised. Following a turnover in possession, Ignacio Piatti and Alejandro Silva led a swift counterattack. So many times Silva had created a fabulous chance that was saved or missed the target, yet this time he kept his composure against onrushing keeper Andre Blake and his low shot ran into Philly’s net. Shortly before halftime, Saphir Taïder chased a rebound off Blake’s save, and poked it home to seize the lead.

Things would only get better in the second half. As the Union found it increasingly difficult to penetrate Montréal’s defense, Amarikwa’s tireless efforts were compensated with his first goal as an Impact player as he bundled home a cross from Daniel Lovitz. To put the cherry on the sundae, Silva and Piatti capped the night with yet another blistering counterattack from the top of Montréal’s 18-yard box, and Silva chipped Blake to notch his second goal of the night.

It was a classic Montréal Impact win, with a tight defense and a clinical counter allowing the Impact to depart Philadelphia with the comfort of knowing they will end the weekend in sixth place, and that the North Star Bell > the Liberty Bell.

Additionally, results elsewhere in the Eastern Conference have favoured the Impact, with the pursuing DC United and New England Revolution only picking up draws in their respective games. As the Impact keep their eyes fixed on the next match versus NYCFC, fans and pundits are bound to continue to keep one very interested eye on the standings.

Featured image: @impactmontreal

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The rivalry match that wasn’t for IMFC

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve Powell // @evejulia9

Saturday, August 25: 3-1 Loss

At long last, Rivalry Week was upon us. This is a time Montréal Impact fans and Toronto FC fans alike look to on the calendar upon its release, because the feeling is fierce. Beyond the two clubs, beyond sport as a whole, a cultural rivalry between Montréal and Toronto has simmered for countless years. To say that rivalry matches are special ones is an enormous understatement.

As Toronto spent a large part of the season on their heels, with the Impact the higher-placed team in the Eastern Conference, fans looked toward the road match with particular delight. BMO Field is notably hostile to Montréal, with the Impact having won there only twice, but what better time was there to put a nail in the coffin of a rival’s playoff hopes?

On Saturday, Rémi Garde presented his lineup an hour before the match, and it was a baffling one. Ignacio Piatti was placed as the central striker, with Saphir Taïder shifting from central midfield to the left wing of the typical 4-3-3. I stared stupefied at such a lineup wondering if Garde was a genius or a madman. Our two Designated Players were moved out of position, and the weakened midfield core would have a Herculean task ahead of them to try and dictate play.

The fact that the lineup did not work was evident from the start. TFC’s 4-4-2 diamond populated the midfield, and it was too much for Piette, Azira and Krolicki to gain any control over play. The Impact were clearly out-of-sync, and lingered too long in making crucial decisions which led to turnovers. Their lethargic start – yet another one! – was punished by 3 TFC goals within 30 minutes of play. It was as though any play a Bleu-Blanc-Noir player attempted was the wrong one.

Shortly after the home team took a 3-0 lead, Alejandro Silva scored a wonderful counterattack goal to light a glimmer of hope that Montréal could find a way back into the match. The end of the first half would see the Impact hit the woodwork on a free kick, and have two goals disallowed for offside.

Quincy Amarikwa came on for the thoroughly overwhelmed Ken Krolicki at the start of the second half, allowing Taïder to move into a more effective role, and the Impact laid siege to the Toronto half of the field for the final 45 minutes. However, no Impact player was able to make the difference. A succession of corner kicks went unclaimed, and for the goals that needed to be scored, disturbingly few balls entered the 18-yard box, as players elected to dither around the edges until they turned over possession.

In the wake of the defeat, blame is being thrown around all over the place. Piatti had a truly disastrous evening, one of his worst in recent memory – how did he remain out there for 90 minutes? The Impact players were incredibly slow and made poor decision after poor decision – what was going through their heads? Once again, the Impact’s lack of a proper striker was glaringly obvious – how did the ball get dropped on such a crucial role to fill during the transfer window?

This match was of enormous importance, both for team pride and in the playoff race – why did Garde choose such a match to experiment with his lineup? We likely won’t get answers to many of these questions, certainly none that will satisfy Impact fans.

The Impact’s fate is essentially out of their hands now, even though they are 4 points clear of the playoff line. The teams chasing them all have at least two games in hand, as do fifth-placed Philadelphia. The Impact now have to contend with a venerable New York Red Bulls side next Saturday, who will have even less mercy for an ill-prepared team with a shaky mentality.

Featured image: @torontofc

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A nervy performance allows Impact to seize 3 crucial points versus Fire

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve Powell // @evejulia9

Saturday, August 18: 2-1 Win

It seems as though the Montréal Impact love to keep fans on the edge of their seats. After several tumultuous weeks – mixed with disappointing results and the excitement of a few new signings – Chicago Fire were in town. Chicago had spent several weeks in a losing skid, but Montréal is also the team who helped the Fire break a 2-year winless road game streak back in 2016, so nobody knew how the match would go.

New arrival Bacary Sagna made his début at right back. After nearly constant turnover at this position throughout this season, with moderate success at best, Sagna’s Premier League pedigree was a welcome change in the lineup. Of course, there were concerns about his ability to keep up having arrived less than a week before the match, with no games played since May, and at 35 years old. Most, if not all, eyes were on him.

The Impact started the match brightly as they had in their previous home match, a draw against DC United. Saphir Taïder drew a penalty from Bastian Schweinsteiger after some very attractive passing play. Ignacio Piatti subsequently hit the back of the net, putting the Impact in the lead. Much as had been the case in the DC match, having scored early, the home side seemed to take their foot off the gas. Chicago had more possession of the ball and spent a good portion of the first half buzzing around the Impact’s 18-yard box.

Worse yet, the Fire dug deep and shifted into high gear after returning from the half-time break. The Impact remained lethargic and conceded the game-tying goal after Nemanja Nikolic struck home a rebound from Evan Bush’s save. It was déjà vu for Impact fans who had seen the DC match – down to the tying goals being scored in the same minute of both games. Fans had seen this situation just two weeks ago, and it looked as though Montréal were about to give up three vital points at home.

Finally, the team woke up following the goal. Substitutes Quincy Amarikwa, Micheal Azira and Jeisson Vargas all helped the Impact lay siege to Chicago’s offensive third. Urged on by the fans’ boisterous cheering, Montréal peppered the area around Ricardo Sanchez’s net without striking the target.

In the dying instants of the match, the Impact earned a corner. It was now or never. The noise in the stadium rose even higher. Vargas struck the dead ball into the midst of a pack of players. A Chicago head cleared the ball, and Daniel Lovitz hit it on the volley, directly into the bottom right of the net.

The stadium erupted as Lovitz took off to celebrate with pure, unadulterated joy. It had been some time since such a ruckus broke out following an Impact goal! As Jukka Raitala had done the week prior, Lovitz scored his first MLS goal, and it may well prove to be a crucial goal in the increasingly tight playoff race.

As for Sagna? He worked up and down the right side of the pitch tirelessly, despite the lack of game time he’d had leading up to the match. It is still too early for him to have the chemistry that other players share, but he certainly staked his claim to the starting right-back role, with a performance that earned him the Man of the Match Award.

Up next is another incredibly important match, of course! Not only are Montréal visiting Toronto FC, enemy number one, the points on the line are bound to have massive implications in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Featured image: Impact media team

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Every Point Counts: Montréal Impact Pick Up RSL Road Draw

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve Powell // @evejulia9

The grueling month of July finally came to an end for the Montréal Impact, and unfortunately, it had ended on an extremely negative note with:
– Elimination at the semi-final stage of the Canadian Championship.
– French striker Jimmy Briand pulling out of his agreement to join the team at the last minute.
– A 2-1 home loss to Atlanta United.

The team then began the month of August with a should-have-won match against DC United, which ended in a 1-1 draw. However, there is no time to wallow in these disappointments, as the final ten-game stretch begins with Montréal still in playoff contention.

standings

Although the team is finally back to a regular weekly game schedule, they were on the road once again to face their final remaining Western Conference opponent, Real Salt Lake. After a lackluster performance against Wayne Rooney and company, fans were skeptical that the Impact would leave Utah with any kind of result, especially when taking into account the formidable 9-2-1 home record RSL boasted leading up to the match.

Many accredit RSL’s record, at least in part, to the fact that Rio Tinto Stadium is located at high elevation relative to most other stadia. But the Impact would have to breathe deeply and bear with the circumstances, as most of their Eastern Conference opponents hold games in hand.

When teams rarely face each other, as is the case in cross-conference matches, it is difficult to envision how a match will play out. Throw in poor air quality due to nearby forest fires, a blistering hot evening, and the altitude, and there is no denying that the Impact were up against it. However, they began the match on a positive note, creating several attacking chances that were squandered by Matteo Mancosu and Ignacio Piatti. The case of Mancosu is of particular interest, as it becomes clearer with each passing week that his time is up and he has no confidence left in front of goal, but Rémi Garde simply had no other fit striker to play in his preferred 4-3-3 lineup.

The Impact were made to pay for their lack of decisiveness in front of Nick Rimando’s goal as Ken Krolicki’s clumsy footwork following an RSL counter led to Joao Plata slotting a penalty past Evan Bush. Momentum tipped toward the home team following the penalty, and Impact fans felt they were in for a long night.

Yet Garde must have pulled out a spectacular half-time talk, as the Impact returned to the pitch as a more cohesive unit in the second half. Following a corner, which surely was something taken from the training ground, fullback Jukka Raitala channeled his inner Benjamin Pavard to rocket an outside-the-box shot past Rimando, marking his first goal in Bleu-Blanc-Noir.

Following the goal, two new signings made their Impact débuts. Quincy Amarikwa and Micheal Azira were two pickups in a flurry of last-minute deals made by the Impact on Deadline Day. Amarikwa brought Mancosu’s painful night to an end, and showed a positive spark, with a hunger and a confidence that has long been absent from Mancosu’s game. Azira relieved Krolicki and showed a deftness in his passing, and a calmness that can only come through many years of MLS experience.

Neither goalkeeper was given much reprieve in the second half, as both Rimando and Bush made several excellent saves to keep the scoreline even until the final whistle. Although the teams below them are breathing down the Impact’s neck, it never hurts to take a point on the road in hostile territory. As the Impact will face exclusively Eastern Conference teams for the remainder of the season, those games are virtually all “must-win” matches.

Next up: Chicago Fire are in town, in terrible form. However, the last time they came to Montréal in such poor form, in 2016, the Impact were humiliated with a 3-0 home loss. So while this game is indeed a must-win, it certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Featured image: @impactmontreal

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Montreal Impact stand strong in a draw at Portland Timbers

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve Powell // @evejulia9

Saturday, July 21: 2-2 Draw

The whirlwind that the month of July has been is nearing its end for the Montreal Impact. The team soldiered on with their duties to the faraway land of Portland to have their yearly battle with the Timbers. Being that the Timbers entered the match on a 13-game hot streak and are undefeated at home this season, most were of the opinion that the Impact would be very happy to escape the Rose City with a point.

Suffice it to say, the 90 minutes that played out in Portland were wild. Despite the glut of matches and how much fatigue must be creeping up on players, Rémi Garde fielded his strongest lineup possible, with the exception of Shamit Shome replacing Ken Krolicki in midfield.

You can often tell what kind of a match the Impact are going to have based on what kind of match their undisputed best player is having. If Ignacio Piatti is up for it, then the team are all but guaranteed to score goals. However, another significant offensive threat has awakened in the form of Alejandro Silva who has taken to the right wing like a fish to water.

In the 23rd minute, Silva intercepted a poor pass and dusted himself off after a clumsy collision with a Timbers man, dribbled deftly into the box and served up the assist on a silver platter for Saphir Taïder’s fourth goal in as many matches. Piatti, Silva and Taïder have a combined 10 goals and 10 assists in the past 7 matches (all competitions).

Although Portland would come back to equalize, directly from the kickoff that followed, Matteo Mancosu also found the back of the net for a second time this season. Piatti played a perfectly weighted long ball to him, allowing the Italian to do what Italian strikers do best – peel off the shoulder of his defenders to score a goal that undoubtedly brought him great relief.

While neither of the Impact’s strikers has had much success filling the net this season, the burden of creating and scoring goals is no longer solely on Piatti’s shoulders. In seasons past, teams could simply smother the Argentinian maestro, because he was at the heart and soul of the team’s attack. With his teammates finding their form, it is now dangerous to overcommit bodies to Piatti, as Silva is proving to be a deft dribbler and Taïder is developing a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

The Impact’s first draw of the season would not have happened had it not been for one player. For as much of a hero as he has been this season, the Impact would have won this match had it not been for Evan Bush’s two howlers. Twice, Bush ineffectively palmed shots into positions for Samuel Armenteros and Diego Valeri to pounce on his errors.

Bush would go on to make seven saves, to his credit. Given the assault he has faced in net this season, most are willing to excuse the ‘keeper’s lapses so long as he returns to his 2018 form! That will be all the more important to see out the month, as it became clear toward the end of the match that outfield players are beginning to feel the fatigue of a very condensed schedule.

The Impact remain on the West Coast to play the second leg of the Canadian Championship semi-final at BC Place tonight. They take a 1-0 advantage into that match against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Impact return him for their last match of the month on Saturday, July 28th, as Atlanta United will be in town to undoubtedly test the team’s defensive resolve.

Featured image: @impactmontreal

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Montreal Impact start their quest for the Voyageurs Cup on the right foot

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve Powell // @evejulia9

Wednesday, July 18, 2018: 1-0 Win (Leg 1)

The Canadian Championship is a cup competition filled with mid-week matches, inter-league matches, and bench players earning some playing time. This year, it isn’t even being shown on TV. From an outside perspective, it probably doesn’t seem too important.

But it is. Winning the tournament and lifting the Voyageurs Cup trophy is the only way for Canadian soccer teams to secure a berth in the CONCACAF Champions’ League. The Montréal Impact know all too well the prestige, the excitement and the emotion associated with this competition, being part of a very small group of MLS teams to reach the CCL final, where they suffered a heartbreaking loss in 2015.

Head coach Rémi Garde and his staff are new to MLS, but they are familiar with the European equivalent, the UEFA Champions’ League. However, as the Impact seem to just be getting their season on track after a disastrous start, there was some concern about whether the coaching staff would accord the competition the importance that it has long held in the hearts of Impact fans and players.

Wednesday’s lineup for the first leg of the semi-final against the Vancouver Whitecaps left little doubt as to whether Garde took this competition seriously. Several key starters, including Saphir Taïder, Alejandro Silva, Rudy Camacho and Daniel Lovitz started the match. Samuel Piette donned the captain’s armband, and he was one of the required 3 Canadian players on the pitch along with Anthony Jackson-Hamel and Michael Petrasso.

Despite a slight shakeup in the lineup, the Impact put forth another organized performance. A heavily rotated Vancouver squad, notably not featuring Canadian superstar in the making Alphonso Davies, only managed one shot on target during the entire match. After pressuring the Whitecaps’ defense for the majority of the game, Silva was rewarded with his second goal of the season in the 58th minute, after he started some give-and-go with Jeisson Vargas and Taïder at the top of the ‘Caps’ 18-yard box.

To further emphasize Garde’s desire to win, Ignacio Piatti made a substitute appearance, but the game would finish 1-0 for the Impact, marking their sixth consecutive win at home. As the cherry on the sundae, young Homegrown signing Matthieu Choinière received his first minutes as a professional player in the last 5 minutes of the match. Fans were just a little bit excited to see him make his début!

Indeed, many will feel that the 1-0 scoreline does not adequately reflect the team’s performance. In fact, Jackson-Hamel hit the post with a header, as well as the crossbar with what would have been a spectacular shot. However, the sense of mild disappointment with the scoreline is more a testament to the progress the team as a whole has made since the dark days of conceding 4 or 5 goals per match than to the underwhelming attack, which should soon receive an injection of quality with the all-but-officialised arrival of striker Jimmy Briand.

The Impact will continue to push through their busy month with a cross-country trip to the formidable Providence Park on Saturday, July 21st  for an MLS match against the Portland Timbers. The West Coast visit wraps up with the return leg of the Canadian Championship semi-final in Vancouver on Wednesday, July 25th.

Featured image: @impactmontreal

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Montréal Impact keep on rolling against the tremulous San Jose Earthquakes

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve Powell // @evejulia9

Saturday, July 14, 2018: 2-0 Win

After crashing down to Earth with a sobering 3-0 loss away to NYCFC, the message from coaches and players alike was “We want to bounce back.” Saturday’s match against San Jose Earthquakes, who are currently bottom of the Western Conference standings provided a perfect opportunity for the team to accomplish their goal.

After rotating the squad for the mid-week loss, Rémi Garde elected to field his A-team at home. Rudy Camacho, Ken Krolicki, Alejandro Silva, Matteo Mancosu and Chris Duvall returned to the starting lineup. A notable absentee was Rod Fanni, who missed out through illness. Some fans were concerned about whether a central defensive pairing of Camacho and Jukka Raitala would prove as effective as Camacho-Fanni, and there was only one way to find out.

The Impact started the match brightly, with some fantastic give-and-go play between Mancosu, Ignacio Piatti and Saphir Taïder leading to the Algerian’s fourth goal of the season. The chemistry between Taïder and Piatti was perhaps best evidenced by the first-touch passing between the two, the confidence that the other would be there to receive the ball. Mancosu, despite his abysmal goal tally this season, also deserves credit for his placement on the left side of the opposing 18-yard box when Piatti moved to the centre of the attacking group, as he was, therefore, ready to pass the ball to Piatti who laid the ball off for Taïder.

In the celebration of that goal, Piatti and Taïder came together to hold up an Impact jersey — Marco Donadel’s #33. Donadel was waived by the Impact a few weeks ago, and this match was the last he would be attending before his rumoured return to Italy. Piatti and Taïder chose that moment to recognize the significant role he had played in the team during his three and a half seasons with the Bleu-Blanc-Noir.

Although ‘keeper Evan Bush was called into action at the end of the half, the real talking point of the game would not be the Impact’s superior collective performance.

Instead, all eyes outside of Montréal are on the implosion taking place – very publicly – within the Earthquakes’ team. Two early substitutions, Anibal Godoy and then his replacement Fatai Alashe, perfectly encapsulated the level of discord with that team and likely made the Impact’s win all the easier. The frustrated body language of the visiting players on the pitch betrayed some deep internal problems which undoubtedly contribute to their current position in the standings.

Despite Piatti scoring another goal to end the match on a positive note, with Alejandro Silva notching yet another assist, arguably the biggest highlight of the match would be when the referee tackled Samuel Piette to the ground.

Thankfully, it will take more than that to take out the defensive midfielder! Somehow, the referee escaped a booking for his blatant attempt to play the man and not the ball!

I had the immense pleasure of being present at Stade Saputo this match as well, in Section 132 with the Ultras de Montréal 2002. The capo was on fire, and got several other sections involved in chanting for the team! And woe be unto you if they caught you taking a break.

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Stade Saputo. Image: Eve Powell/mlsfemale

The Impact are about to face a lot of Western competition, with Vancouver Whitecaps visiting Stade Saputo for the first leg of the Canadian Championship semi-final on Wednesday, July 18th. On Saturday, July 21st, the Impact will attempt to improve their MLS road record and take on a stingy Portland Timbers defense in the Rose City. The road trip will wrap up with the second leg of Canadian Championship semi-final at BC Place on Wednesday, July 25th.

Featured image of Samuel Piette: @impactmontreal

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Montreal Impact Test Their Depth … and Fail in NYC

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve Powell // @evejulia9

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Montréal Impact were coming into an incredibly busy July schedule on a hot streak, with four consecutive wins and 5 in 6 matches. With the impending load of 6 matches in 17 days, eventually Rémi Garde was going to have to rotate the team, whose lack of depth he had previously deplored. The first opportunity to see several players make their return – or their début, as in the case of Shamit Shome – to the starting lineup.

The lineup also featured 5 Canadian players (Piette, Shome, Jackson-Hamel, Edwards and Petrasso) which is of interest as the upcoming Canadian Championship competition requires a minimum of 3 Canadian players in the starting lineup for each team. Whether their presence was preparation for those matches, simple rotation, or a chance for some bench players to compete for more playing time, only coach Garde can say.

What anyone who watched that match can say is that none of the players on the pitch rose to the occasion. The Bleu-Blanc-Noir failed to register a single shot on target and capitulated in the second half to lose 3-0 to a heavily rotated New York City FC.

Image: Tisha Gale/mlsfemale

Although none of the Canadians returning to the lineup will want to remember their performances, two notable disappointments were Homegrown Player Anthony Jackson-Hamel and Raheem Edwards. Jackson-Hamel had made a name for himself last season as a supersub who could come off the bench and score goals late into games. With starting striker Matteo Mancosu’s aversion to scoring goals continuing into its second season, Jackson-Hamel was given a chance to claim a position which is very much up for grabs. Meanwhile, Edwards had lost his starting position on the right wing when Alejandro Silva‘s form picked up, and also had his moment to prove his worth.

Both players had previously been publicly criticized for a lack of effort during training earlier this season. Initially, it seemed, they responded to criticism with strong performances in a 4-2 win over New England Revolution. However, in the pair’s first start since May, fans were subjected to watching them play at a jog, with little effort put into winning 50/50 balls and a distinct lack of creativity and tactical awareness. Coach Garde was equally unimpressed, as Jackson-Hamel and Edwards were both substituted in the 59th minute.

On a final note of interest, owner Joey Saputo was present at the match. Rémi Garde will hope that the man holding the purse-strings appreciated the opportunity to witness first-hand the difference in quality of players on Montréal’s bench and that of NYCFC.

On Saturday, July 14th, the Impact return home to face San Jose Earthquakes, a team whose quality has also been deplored … by one of their players. It should be interesting to see how the two squads crying for an injection of talent face off.

Featured image of Samuel Piette: @impactmontreal

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Montreal Impact Just Can’t Shake that Winning Feeling

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve Powell // @evejulia9

The Montreal Impact came into their match against the Colorado Rapids riding a three-game winning streak, and had set a new team record of over 340 minutes played without conceding a goal. For a team that was 3-10-0 just a few matches earlier, and that had flirted with the bottom of the Eastern Conference table, things were really coming together for Rémi Garde and his troops.

Alejandro Silva delivered a pair of assists on a Saphir Taïder brace that would seal Colorado’s fate, as the Impact picked up a fourth consecutive win with a dominant performance over a struggling team. However, the clean sheet streak broke at 420 minutes when Colorado picked up a sloppy consolation goal near the end of the match. Considering that it was just six short weeks ago that the Impact, who marked 7 hours kept off the scoresheet themselves, it seems a bit out-of-place to complain about conceding a goal!

Although Taïder would reap the glory as he scored the goals that sealed the 3 points, it would be wrong to ignore the enormous contribution that Silva provided to the team. As is sometimes the case with new players, Silva’s adaptation to the team and the league didn’t happen overnight. As Coach Garde experimented, Silva played in several roles, including right back and the #10 spot, with limited success.

However, he has enjoyed a run of matches starting in his preferred role of right winger. The consistency has allowed fans to discover the dynamic player who they watched in highlight videos upon his signing, but he hadn’t scored a goal despite numerous chances.

In the match prior to the Colorado game, Ignacio Piatti allowed Silva to take a penalty shot. Crossing the threshold of scoring his first goal for the club clearly further bolstered the Uruguayan’s confidence as he took his performance to a new level in the victory over the Rapids, not only with his two assists. Silva’s defensive contributions, vision for open space, and dribbling kept the Colorado players busy and lightened the workload for his teammates.

This match was a special one, not just because the Bleu-Blanc-Noir are finally stringing together performances resembling a competitive soccer team, but because I have made my annual pilgrimage to Stade Saputo. For those of you who are unaware, I am a long-distance fan, as I live in another province.

For this match, I joined one of the supporter groups. 1642 Montréal occupy the end of the stadium with the North Star Bell, which rings for Impact goals and victories. I can’t thank everyone in Section 114 enough for their fabulous welcome and for the ambiance they contributed to the stadium! 90+ minutes of singing, cheering and jumping were enjoyed!

July is a busy month for the Impact, as there are 7 games on the schedule with a combination of 5 MLS matches and 2 Canadian Championship matches to play. The sequence of midweek matches begins as Rémi Garde learns that sometimes in MLS, we play soccer in a baseball stadium as the Impact visit NYCFC on Wednesday, July 11th.

Featured image: @impactmontreal

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June Brings a Month of Highs Following the Impact’s Struggles

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve Powell // @evejulia9

It has been a roller coaster start to the summer for the Montréal Impact. Fans are used to highs and lows with this team, and as the month of May wound to a close, the Impact were in the depths of one of those lows. They had suffered four straight shut-out losses, Ignacio Piatti was in the midst of his longest goal drought ever at 5 games without a contribution, and players and coaches were losing their tempers at training.

The World Cup break was still a few weeks away, but couldn’t come soon enough for fans who were tired of watching their team be the whipping boys of the league.

With Albert Elis and the free-scoring Houston Dynamo in town, fans were prepared to be the victims of a firing squad, yet the Impact pulled out a win – and their third clean sheet of the season!

The following match saw the Impact make the long journey to face the other Texas team, FC Dallas, who have generally enjoyed great success against the Bleu-Blanc-Noir. An own goal and a penalty saw the Impact wilt in the Lone Star State’s heat to the tune of 2-0.

There wasn’t much time to sulk over the loss though, as the Impact faced a mid-week game against Orlando City SC before the World Cup break. Orlando were also in tailspin, as they came into the match suffering from 5 straight losses. On a rainy Wednesday night, few anticipated much of a spectacle. However, for a rare time this season, luck shone on the Impact. They received an early penalty that broke Piatti’s dry spell, benefitted from an own goal, and sealed the result with a rare late goal, also from Piatti.

Following the international break, the Impact took to the road again to take on Orlando for the second consecutive match, this time in the Lions’ den. A road game in hot weather rarely spelled means anything good for the Impact. Yet Orlando were still reeling from tallying another loss and were now without a head coach to top it off, following Jason Kreis’ dismissal after the match in Montréal.

Another own goal from OCSC followed by Piatti’s third goal in two matches saw the Impact take a comfortable 2-0 result home, although Orlando is clearly a shadow of the team who took the start of the season by storm.

The team has finally begun to creep toward the playoff line, and fans are finding positives to take from matches once again. Although players have finally begun to play as more of a cohesive unit – for each other, instead of just with each other – two players have stood head and shoulders above their teammates in the recent uptick in form.

Rod Fanni’s cool head and clean play as a defender has seen many opposition attacks snuffed out before goalkeeper Evan Bush need worry. Some are also crediting Fanni’s level-headed presence with the improved decision-making fellow central defender Rudy Camacho has demonstrated.

Samuel Piette has endeared himself to fans beyond being a native Québecois by controlling the midfield and intercepting passes like it’s the easiest job in the world.

Although the outcome of this season is still up in the air, there are diamonds in the rough within the team.

Next up: A true test of whether this recent positive form is an anomaly or a step forward – Sporting KC, unbeaten in 7 matches, visit Stade Saputo on Saturday, June 30th.

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