Montreal back on top of the East
CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Montreal Impact will play a third game in eight days, this Saturday, at 1pm, at Nippert Stadium, to take on FC Cincinnati for the first time in MLS (TVA Sports, TSN, 98.5, TSN 690).
“Some things will obviously be new,” said head coach Rémi Garde. “We’ll adapt as quickly and as best we can. That being said, the players are the same ones that have been around in the past few weeks. It will be a difficult game because I think the stadium will really get behind its team. Sometimes, when there’s a change of coach, it can serve as a mental boost for the players. It’ll be a nice challenge and we’re looking forward to playing this game.”
Chasing a record number of wins on the road
Montreal put its hands on a fourth away win last Wednesday, beating the New York Red Bulls 2-1; it was only the third time in the club’s MLS history that the team won two straight games on the road. The Impact has never won five games away from home in a season since it transitioned to MLS, but it now has eight games remaining to improve this total and set a club record. Rémi Garde’s men are just five points away from the club record of points accumulated in away stadiums.
“One of the things we analyzed after last season was the reasons why we didn’t do good on the road,” said centre-back Jukka Raitala. “It was complicated for us. Now, we already have more points away from home than we had in the entire 2018 season. We try not to make a big deal out of it, and just approach them as if they were home games. It’s looking good so far, and we’re confident in the way we approach these games.”
Two new players opened their scoring account, Wednesday night in New Jersey: striker Maxi Urruti, who leads the team with four assists in 2019, converted the Impact’s first penalty this season, after defender Zakaria Diallo opened the scoring for the visitors. Midfielder Samuel Piette could start his 50th consecutive game if he gets the call Saturday. Evan Bush, on his end, is at 46 consecutive starts.
Former Impact man at the helm of FC Cincinnati
Saturday’s opponent, FC Cincinnati, recently relieved head coach Alan Koch of his duties. In the interim, it will be assistant coach Yoann Damet, former head coach of the Impact U18, who will pilot the Ohio expansion club. Another former Impact staff member, Jack Stern, is also with FC Cincinnati.
Cincinnati hasn’t scored in its last five games, all losses, although just one of those was at Nippert Stadium.
“Their players will be motivated,” said goalkeeper Evan Bush. “There’s a bunch of things, including the fact that they’re going back home, that will make this a really difficult game for us. We need to be aware of that. We can’t come into this game thinking about their recent form or where they are in the standings. All that is out the window. It’s a fresh start for them and their guys will know that, so we need to be aware of that too.”
The Impact will be back at Stade Saputo on Saturday, May 18, to take on the New England Revolution (TICKETS – TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690). Montreal will then make the long trip to the West coast to visit Los Angeles FC at Banc of California Stadium, on Friday, May 24, at 10:30pm EDT (TVA Sports, TSN, 98.5, TSN 690).