Bernier: "Everyone has to look at themselves and know they can give something more"

And it starts with winning the duels, the 50-50s, says captain

Patrice Bernier vs Graham Zusi Sporting KC

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USA Today Sports

MONTREAL -- While fifth-placed New England Revolution have seven points to show from six games, Montreal have picked up three in as many outings, and the going’s getting tougher: not only are two of Montreal’s next three MLS fixtures painted in Sporting Kansas City’s light blue, but there are also Amway Canadian Championship commitments to fulfill.

Sure, there are some silver linings. The Impact are unbeaten in three, they’re done playing on the Olympic Stadium artificial turf in 2014, and they’ll play their first two ACC games against second-division Edmonton or Ottawa. Oh, and Montreal are 3-1-2 all-time against the 2013 MLS Cup Champions.

"It’s not just about pulling off nice moves and making nice passes"
- Patrice Bernier

One could also argue that four points isn’t a massive gap at this point. But overturning it shouldn’t be put off for too long.

“It depends on the teams ahead of us, how far ahead they do get, and that’s when you start getting to that 10-game area, and if there’s a big gap, it can be tough,” goalkeeper Troy Perkins told reporters on Tuesday. “Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, but we’re walking a real thin line right now.”

More worrisome, perhaps, is that it’s been going on for a while: in 2013, Montreal won only one of their last eight regular season games.

“We have to do a better job amongst ourselves in demanding more of each other and not expecting someone else to do it,” Perkins, a vice-captain for Montreal, said. “I think that’s where we have to kind of step up as players, as leaders, as veterans to demand that guys do their job.”

Another of the team’s designated leaders, captain Patrice Bernier, called for everyone to give somewhere between 10 and 20 percent more of themselves and to be positive – though “not positive and naïve,” he insisted, further explaining that the team should only reach within itself for help to turn the situation around.

“You have to dig deep within yourself,” Bernier told reporters. “It’s not just about pulling off nice moves and making nice passes. We have to do the – how can I say? – not-so-pretty soccer stuff: the duels, the 50-50 balls, the battles we seem to lose, allowing other teams to capitalize. Everyone has to look at themselves and know they can give something more.”

Olivier Tremblay covers the Impact on MLSsoccer.com

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