Rhythm and tune

Montreal Impact gaining momentum with two games to go

Two wins in a row. Two points to clinch a playoff spot. Two games to play in the regular season. Only a couple of days before the derby against Toronto FC, the Montreal Impact has found momentum and confidence as the real season is about to start.

“I want us to build on this two-game streak, to get the points we need and to find this confidence at home to make it very difficult for our opponent,” explains head coach Mauro Biello. “We are currently fourth, I want us to stay there or try and win the third spot [held by Toronto]. It is our mentality, we have to look forward. We are in control of that.”

The newfound solidity in midfield certainly played its part in the Bleu-blanc-noir’s recent success. The addition of a new element always takes time to bear fruit; they will be ripe at the best moment.

“We have good cohesion, defensively we are well,” says captain Patrice Bernier. “We cover the spaces well, we are able to neutralize the opponents that try to play through the middle. Steadily, we are getting to know each other and not to get in each other’s way. We show better synchronism from game to game.”

At the right place at the right time

A regular season top four finish would allow the Impact to host the MLS Cup Playoffs Knockout Round game at Stade Saputo. To that end, the Montreal squad will need to equal or better what D.C. United and Philadelphia Union, respectively one and two points back, will do in their remaining games.

“The standings are in your face, you can’t miss them in the dressing room,” insists Bernier. “We know that if we win the next game, we clinch a playoff spot and put pressure on Toronto. I prefer to look forward. Teams that go far in the playoffs in the past couple of years are the ones who finish the season confidently.”

Even if finishing amongst the four best teams in the East remains the short term objective, Dominic Oduro’s experience reminds him to stay the course.

“Once you make the playoffs, it doesn’t matter,” says the Ghanaian winger. “Portland has done it, other teams have done it. Making the playoffs is key, after that you grind it up. We’ve had back-to-back wins, we’d love to make it three, especially against Toronto. We want to clinch the playoffs and get home advantage. We know what is at stake.”

What is at stake is warming up Montreal with playoff fever in October, like last year.