Another game, another clean sheet

Defensive stability a theme for Bleu-blanc-noir in 2019 camp

We’ve heard the saying so many times: defense wins championships. So far in 2019, the Impact seems to be taking it to heart. Through five preseason games, Rémi Garde’s men have conceded just one goal, which came in a 1-1 draw to FC Cincinnati in the first game of this year’s training camp.

One tiny little goal in over 450 minutes of play. The team’s solid preparation all came together last Saturday, when the Impact trounced D.C. United 3-0 at Al Lang Stadium in its last preseason contest.

“The result was good, but more importantly, the way we played was very interesting,” explained head coach Rémi Garde. “Our defensive shape, our rigour and discipline were very high. It makes me very happy to see my players enjoy not conceding a goal. Overall, it’s a good result and the content was very satisfying to me.”

The coach’s words following the performance couldn’t be truer. The team remains disciplined in the face of offensive adversity, making sure their defensive block moves as one no matter how stretched out it becomes, ultimately frustrating their opponents.

In the opponent’s final third, Rémi Garde’s men definitely proved that they have the tools to be deadly.

“It was a good camp,” said midfielder Clément Bayiha. “We were solid defensively by allowing just one goal through all our games, and we proved that we could find the back of the net as well.”

Establishing an identity

Now entering year two of the Rémi Garde era at the Bleu-blanc-noir, the team’s identity, which became more distinct as the season progressed last year, seems even clearer now, just days away from the season opener in San Jose.

“At the end, it’s the players on the field that need to be happy, and that need to understand what we’re trying to do here,” added Garde. “We’re kicking off this campaign with zero points for now, just like everyone else. After, we’ll see if we can repeat the type of performances we had in preseason.”

The team will look to continue building on that identity this year, one that certainly played to their advantage in the latter part of the 2018 season.

“We’re a very disciplined team,” said midfielder Samuel Piette. “I think we proved it last year and it’s what we’ve worked on a lot this preseason. “Our goal in every game was to get the clean sheet, and that’s what we did. We’re very happy with what we achieved and it’s looking promising for the upcoming season.”