Montreal has five clean sheets in last six games

Impact shows maturity in Chicago win

It was just the second game at Stade Saputo this season, but from what we can see up to now, the Impact is playing with the same confidence in its home stadium as it did in the latter part of the 2018 campaign. Through two games at the Stade Saputo fortress this year, the Impact has conceded zero goals, taking all six points from its opponents.

Both wins were earned in similar fashion. Rémi Garde’s men controlled play for large periods of time, outdueling their opponents in key areas and keeping their defensive block as organized as possible. Offensively, they struck when it mattered most. Sunday, against Chicago, it was newcomer Omar Browne who made the difference in the 83rd minute.

“Both teams went for it,” said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. “They had lost a few games to start the season, but just one by a two-goal margin. We knew they were a team that battled in every moment. I loved my team’s attitude, who, despite this factor, managed to have an impact and remain strong mentally to go get the win.”

It’s a similar storyline to what we’ve seen in almost every game played by the Impact this season, with one glaring exception in Kansas, of course. Montreal has faced adversity since the season started, playing eight of their first nine games on enemy territory and most without Designated Player Nacho Piatti. Yet, after 10 games, Montreal has 17 points, putting them in a tie for first in the Eastern Conference.

It’s a big improvement from where this team was 10 games into the 2018 season, and not only in the standings.

“Our mentality has improved a lot since last season,” continued Garde. “We aren’t as fragile. Everyone gives their best effort, and that creates an atmosphere in which everyone can contribute. I’m not surprised, but I’m proud. Sometimes winning games is about tactics, sometimes about technique, but you cannot win a game if you aren’t mentally prepared to battle, because it’s always a battle, especially in MLS. I’m proud of the way my players answered.”

Now, for the first time this season, the Impact will play a second consecutive game at Stade Saputo, this Saturday at 5pm against New York City FC (TICKETS – TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690). They’ll go into Stade Saputo knowing the last time they conceded a goal there was on September 22, 2018, in a 1-1 draw against Saturday’s opponent.

“Our objective every game is to shut out our opponent. Five clean sheets, that’s a very good stat for our defensive unit,” said midfielder Samuel Piette. “There are a lot of positives, but we can’t be satisfied, and we need to continue working hard.”