MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact will be back at Stade Saputo following a three-week international break to take on the Portland Timbers, this Wednesday at 7:30pm (TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690). Excellent tickets remain available on impactmontreal.com
“They’ve played three games, while on our end we haven’t played a game in three weeks,” said Montreal Impact head coach Rémi Garde. “They’ve done a good job turning things around, and they’re coming here with four wins in their last five games. They’re on a good streak. I think we’ve put in the work differently, but it’ll be important for us to find our match form early in this one, since we’re playing a team that hasn’t stopped.”
Stade Saputo's gates will at 5:30pm, allowing you to take advantage of the summer. From 5:30pm to 6:30pm, 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, on FIFA 19 on PS4. Finally, a new pregame ritual, during which supporters will be able to welcome players in the stadium's North stand, will take place as of 6pm, 90 minutes before kickoff. Please note as well that our new IMFC grilled cheeses made by chef Danny Smiles will henceforth be on the concessions' menu at Stade Saputo, starting as low as $2.83 (plus tax).
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 roadwork.
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.
Impact still second in the East
Rémi Garde and his men are well-placed ahead of the second half of the MLS season : sitting second in the Eastern Conference, with 27 points in 17 games, Montreal will play most of its games at home for the remainder of the season. The Impact has just six road games left, an important advantage giving the context of the league.
Midfielder and Designated Player Saphir Taïder had a strong finish to the first half of the season, scoring three goals in his last three games at Stade Saputo, a sequence in which the team won twice. If he plays against the Timbers, Taïder will reach the cap of 50 games played with the Impact. The Algerian scored in his lone career game against the Timbers, and he’s tied for fourth in MLS with three game-winning goals.
“It’s always been our collective effort that’s made the difference,” said midfielder Saphir Taïder. “There’s never been one specific player or individual that has won our games. It’s up to us to use that to our advantage, to stay compact defensively and to work together. We’ll have our chances offensively. We’re at home. The crowd will be there, there’ll be enthusiasm, and it’s the beginning of summer. It’ll energize the group. We have to take advantage. Tomorrow is a must-win game.”
Sagna and Choinière available
Good news from Centre Nutrilait a few hours before the Impact’s return to action: full-back Bacary Sagna, homegrown midfielder Mathieu Choinière and Nigerian midfielder Orji Okwonkwo have all taken up training again and will be available for head coach Rémi Garde after being sidelined during Seattle’s visit three weeks ago. Designated Player Nacho Piatti, absent long-term, and homegrown midfielder Clément Bayiha, both remain unavailable. Also, Canadians Samuel Piette and Zachary Brault-Guillard, Daniel Lovitz, with the US, Omar Browne, with Panama, and Micheal Azira, with Uganda, are all representing their countries in continental tournaments.
“This break was important,” said full-back Bacary Sagna. “We’ve played a lot of games, especially on the road, which means a lot of travel. Now, we kick off the second half of the season. All in all, we did good in the first half. I think we could’ve done better, but the team is on the right path. We feel good collectively. We feel like working together, and we’re united for the second half of the season.”
Timbers busy, but on a streak
Giovanni Savarese’s men will be playing a third game in eight days, having hosted the Los Angeles Galaxy in their renovated Providence Park, last Wednesday for the U.S. Open Cup, and the Houston Dynamo, Saturday in MLS, winning both games 4-0. The new Designated Player Brian Fernandez tied a league record, scoring at least a goal in each of his first four MLS games, scoring three goals in two cup games as well. On the road, the Timbers have a record of four wins, six losses, and two draws, although they’ve won three of their last four games against Eastern opponents.
The Impact will play a second game in four days on Saturday, June 29 at 6pm, against Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690). Montreal will be back at Stade Saputo on Saturday, July 6 to take on Minnesota United FC (TICKETS – TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690), before playing the first leg of the quarterfinal of the 2019 Canadian Championship against York 9 FC on Wednesday, July 10, at 7:30pm at York Lions Stadium.