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Everything to play for in second half of season

Impact sits three points out of a playoff spot

The term turning point can often be overused in sports and has become somewhat of a cliché. But considering the Montreal Impact’s situation, and the fact that the team has now won three of its last four games by shutting out its opponents, its latest win against Orlando City SC in Florida may be exactly what the Bleu-blanc-noir needed to kick off the second half of its MLS season.

“I don’t know if it’s a turning point, but it was a very important game,” said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. “Our performance validates and consolidates the new state of mind that is present in the locker room.”

After beating the Lions at Stade Saputo, Orlando parted ways with head coach Jason Kreis and assistant-coach Bobby Murphy took over on an interim basis. That, and the fact that the Floridians had lost six consecutive games, meant the Impact was expecting an opponent with something to prove in Florida.

“This is a team that has been struggling, and a team that we played recently,” explained defender Chris Duvall. “It was a little tougher because I think they had something to prove, not just to us, but around the league, to their new coach, and to their supporters. To still manage to get a shutout against a very good attacking team is very good for us.”

Les Montréalais have mostly turned things around by being almost perfect defensively; the team’s three last wins have come with clean sheets, with two straight coming against Orlando City SC, and the Bleu-blanc-noir is currently on a 252-minute streak without conceding a goal.

“It’s a mentality,” said defender Chris Duvall. “We’ve had the right pieces for a long time, it was just a matter of flipping a switch and wanting to win more than anyone else. It’s far from finished. We’re still below the red line and we’ve got half the season to go. This is a good start to the second half and we’ll hopefully push to make it to the top.”

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