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No place like home for Rémi Garde

Impact head coach on the effects of the home crowd

Something special happened Saturday at Stade Saputo, in the final 20 minutes of the game between the Impact and the Chicago Fire. With the score tied at a goal apiece after the Illinois team tied things up in the 70th minute, the Bleu-blanc-noir looked slightly distraught. The Fire had come out flying in the second half, and after multiple opportunities, it found the tying goal.

That’s when the home crowd decided to get it up a notch. As they cheered and screamed and sang, the momentum started to shift; Montreal once again took control of the play and settled into Chicago’s half for the final quarter-hour.

“The support is very important,” said head coach Rémi Garde. “I find that in the second half, in my opinion, we could really feel the support from the crowd. I thought there was a nice communion with the players. We managed to create a few dangerous situations of our own because of it.”

Then, in stoppage time, the breakthrough came, and from the unlikeliest of sources. Daniel Lovitz, sitting at the top of the box, volleyed home an attempted clearance that beat ‘keeper Richard Sanchez and sent everybody at Stade Saputo in a frenzy.

It was an end fitting a Hollywood movie, considering how important that one goal may be for the Impact’s season in the long run. But for Rémi Garde, it was an ending born from the supporters’ passion, with a special shout-out to Lovitz’s right foot of course.

“Our last few chances were created by crowd’s enthusiasm and support,” added Garde. “I say it very sincerely, it’s support that our players need. When we play at home, we absolutely need it.”

The Impact has just four games remaining at Stade Saputo in MLS regular season play, all against Eastern Conference opponents. The race for an MLS Cup playoff spot will go down to the wire. Excellent tickets are still available on impactmontreal.com.

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