ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – The Montreal Impact continues its preseason calendar with a third friendly game, this time against the Philadelphia Union, this Saturday at 4pm, at Al Lang Stadium, as part of the Rowdies Suncoast Invitational. The game will be broadcast live online via impactmontreal.com.
“I want to see what I saw in our first two games, with a little more consistency in the principals that dictate the way we want to play,” said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. “Of course, I want to see a strong team spirit, which is very important to me. The idea is to prepare my team in the best way possible, while making sure every individual player is as close to their best level in time for March 2.”
First of three games in St. Petersburg
For a fourth straight year, the Bleu-blanc-noir takes part in the Rowdies Suncoast Invitational, organized by the Tampa Baw Rowdies of the USL at their Al Lang Stadium home. The Impact will play three games in eight days, starting with the Union.
If the head coach opted for a different line-up after half time in each of the first two preseason games, we should expect more players to stay longer on the pitch in these final preseason games. The line-up could start getting closer to what we’ll see when the Impact opens its regular season in San Jose, on March 2 at 10pm EST against the Earthquakes (TVA Sports).
“Of course this game is important because the first game of the season is in two weeks and it’ll come quick,” said defender Zakaria Diallo. “Now, we’re really getting into the thick of training camp. Our trainings are less intense physically, which will allow us to put more intensity into our upcoming preseason game.”
Dictating the pace
The Union has played three preseason games thus far, showing a record of two wins and a draw, while the Impact has a 1-0-1 record after its first two preseason matches. This game risks being the biggest test yet for both teams.
Although a victory would be welcome for the Montreal side, it’s especially important for the group to impose its style of play on its opponent, and not have it be the other way around. For the group, this will be a determining factor in kicking off the regular season on the right foot, especially considering Rémi Garde’s men play their first six games on the road.
“We’re at a stage now where the most important thing we can do is perform well,” said midfielder Samuel Piette. “We need to apply what we’ve focused on during our training sessions. We can already notice the quality of our play getting better and better after each session. Now, we need to apply this in a gameday scenario.”
Upcoming preseason games
In its final two preseason games, the Bleu-blanc-noir will face the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday, February 20 at 7pm, and D.C. United on Saturday, February 23 at 7pm. Both games will be played at Al Lang Stadium and available live on impactmontreal.com.
The team will then kick off its regular season against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, March 2, at 10pm EST at Avaya Stadium (TVA Sports). The Impact will open its season at home, at Stade Saputo, on Saturday, April 13, at 1pm against the Columbus Crew SC.