Back from Utah with a valuable point

Impact still in sixth following draw with Real Salt Lake

On any given day, a tie against a team like Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium would be considered a success. After all, the Utahan team boasts one the best home records in the entire league, having lost just once in their fortress overlooking the Rocky Mountains. With both teams sitting in the sixth and last playoff spot in their respective Conferences before this game began, a 1-1 draw when it was all said and done may not have been the optimal result for the Bleu-blanc-noir’s players, but it’s one they’ll certainly take.

“We’re disappointed because we need points and we came here to win,” said midfielder Saphir Taïder. “Maybe we’re used to winning or getting positive results lately. It’s good for us to think that way – to not find satisfaction in a draw. It spurs positive results and incites everyone to give more in order to take the three points next time.”

The Impact was particularly dangerous in the last 45, with all four of its shots on target coming in the second half. After conceding early following a penalty call in favour of the home team, Montreal managed to tie the game early in the second half after a well-worked set piece allowed Jukka Raitala to take a stunning strike on net, giving Nick Rimando no chance.

“Every game is winnable if we play like we have recently, with the ideas the coach transmits to us before each game,” added Taïder. “After, it’s about applying that on the field, which isn’t always the case. We did it so at times on Saturday.”

Change of mentality

A sense of disappointment was clear in the Impact’s dressing room after the final whistle was blown. The reaction points to a difference regarding the team’s state of mind recently.

“We worked to get to this point,” said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. “I try to tell the players so as well in my speeches. There’s also maybe more ambition within the group than before. I told the players that their disappointment to not earning all three points is a very good sign.”

It’s that mentality that allowed the Bleu-blanc-noir to come away with points in its last two away games in MLS, including a tough road matchup at Providence Park in Portland that ended in a 2-2 draw. The Impact’s next matchup, a home game at Stade Saputo against the Chicago Fire on Saturday, August 18 at 7:30pm (TICKETS – TVA Sports, 98,5fm), will put that mentality to the test, as the Illinois team sits seven points behind Montreal in the East, and will be looking to take all three points in town come Saturday.