Impact eager to improve on latest second half performance

Scroll to 1:11 to hear Mauro Biello's comments in English

Olivier Tremblay covers the Montreal Impact for

MONTREAL – Since the beginning of the season, the Montreal Impact have insisted that they can only control what they, rather than their opponents, do.

Consequently, before the Impact left for Houston ahead of this Friday’s game against the Dynamo, less was said about the two impressive wins they’ve already notched this season against their next opponents than about what they should improve on from their second half performance in Chicago last Saturday.

After a good first half by Montreal, Fire head coach Frank Klopas threw a stick through the Impact’s bicycle spokes with two halftime substitutions. Montreal assistant coach Mauro Biello felt that the addition of Alex, in particular, kept Patrice Bernier busy in front of the defense, allowing Mike Magee into space to reverse the Impact’s 1-0 lead.

“We weren't good enough recovering the ball and starting plays again,” Biello told reporters on Tuesday. “We were losing the ball straightaway. In such a situation, when you give them the ball back during transitions, you get more disorganized, and that's what we saw. Today, we're trying to fix those little problems with the three guys in the middle when things like that happen.”

In the end, Montreal did salvage a point thanks to Maxim Tissot’s dramatic equalizer, but some dissatisfaction remains. For forward Marco Di Vaio, Montreal being slow to react tactically in the second half “is not worrying, but we have to do better because if we play 30 minutes like that in the playoffs, we won’t progress.” The Impact have to get there first, however.

The Dynamo could leapfrog the Impact in third place in the Eastern Conference with a win, but Montreal, with a game in hand on them still, then face direct rivals Philadelphia and New England at home, with potentially slippery travels to Los Angeles and Toronto as well. Montreal would likely remain above the red line with two wins at Stade Saputo, but they want to attach road results to that – just more convincingly than in Chicago.

“This time of year, we know that going on the road and getting a point against somebody who’s that close to us would be a good result,” team captain Davy Arnaud told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s not that we’re not capable of winning the game – I think we are –, but I think that if our focus is that we can go in and we’re starting with a point at 0-0 and we can keep that point, it would be a good thing.”