MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact will host the Columbus Crew SC for its home opener, the seventh game of its 2019 MLS season, this Saturday at 1pm, at Stade Saputo (TVA Sports, TSN, 98.5, TSN 690). Excellent tickets remain available at impactmontreal.com. The Impact recommends you adequately plan your outing, use public transportation, and arrive early.
“Of course, coming back home and rediscovering the same feelings we had here last year is very important,” said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. “We’re very happy. Now, we know it’s going to be a challenge. The first game at home is always very important. I’ll need to make sure there’s no drop in our energy levels. The players are eager to feel our public’s support. I know they’ll be behind us Saturday, because we all remember those games last year when the crowd was behind us. This is the first one, against a good team that doesn’t concede many goals and that’s having a great start to the year. We’ll need the support and we’re very excited.”
Stade Saputo’s West gates will open very early, as of 9:30am (other entrances will open at 11am), allowing you to attend the live TV show Brunch with JiC, and to take advantage of the spring weather, near section 134. From 11am to noon, the 2-for-1 special on all drinks will be in place, and animations, numerous activities, and photobooths will be available beneath the stands. Video game enthusiasts can try their luck against LyesMTL, the Impact’s eSports player in the BMO Celebration Zone. Finally, a new pregame ritual, during which supporters will be able to welcome players in the stadium’s North stand, will take place for the first time as of 11:30am, 90 minutes before kickoff.
The MLS bag policy will be in place for this game. Backpacks, camera bags, and big tote bags, as well as any bag larger than 35cm x 35cm x 15cm will not be accepted inside the stadium.
Also, please note that more traffic than usual is to be expected in the Sherbrooke/Pie-IX/Pierre-de-Coubertin/Viau area, as well as to access the different parking lots around Stade Saputo due to various reasons. The Viau metro station is undergoing an important renovation project. Construction on the new bus rapid transit corridor (BRT) on Pie-IX Boulevard has begun, and as such, traffic on Pie-IX between the A40 and Pierre-de-Coubertin Street will be impeded, while bus routes may be diverted. The P1, P2, P3, P4 parking lots are available. The P5 parking lot is reserved for members with a parking pass.
Good start to the season for the Impact
After six consecutive road games to start the 2019 season, the Impact comes back home with a record of two wins, two losses and two draws for a total of eight points, good for seventh in the East. Montreal hasn’t conceded a goal in 185 minutes, although it hasn’t scored one in 181 minutes either. In eight games at home against Columbus, the Impact has five wins, two losses, and a draw, with a +9 goal differential. Designated Player Saphir Taïder, on his end, has a goal and three assists in two games against the Crew last year.
“We know we can perform on the road. Now, we need to do the same at home,” said midfielder Samuel Piette. “It can be hard to come home after six games on the road. It’s important to change our mentality. Here, we have the crowd’s support and the comfort of playing at home. But I think we collected some very important points on the road for the remainder of the season.”
Designated Player Nacho Piatti remains unavailable due to a knee injury. Striker Maxi Urruti will, however, be able to reintegrate the line-up, after being suspended for the game in Washington.
“There’s lots of excitement,” said midfielder Harry Novillo. “We’ve already played six games on the road, and it’s starting to take a toll. We’ve been eager to play in front of our supporters, and I think they’ve been waiting for this game as well. It’s always better to play at home, on our field. I’m excited to discover it and get used to playing here. We need to be mentally prepared, and we’ll give it our all on Saturday.”
Columbus first in the East
The Columbus Crew SC, on its end, is having an excellent start to its season and sits alone atop of the Eastern Conference standings. The Black and Gold have earned two consecutive clean sheets but won’t be able to count on young Designated Player Milton Valenzuela, done for the season, or on Harrison Afful, unavailable due to a jaw fracture.
The Impact will again play three games in quick succession, starting on Saturday, April 20, at 1pm, when Montreal visits the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium (TVA Sports, TSN, 98.5, TSN 690). Rémi Garde’s men will then take on the New England Revolution on Wednesday, April 24 at 7:30pm at Gillette Stadium (TVA Sports, TSN, 98.5, TSN 690), before playing their second home game on Sunday, April 28 at 12:30pm against the Chicago Fire at Stade Saputo (TICKETS – TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690).