The Impact U19 was a hot topic because of its results and its performances in the first half of the season. First in its group and third in the 74-team league, the U19’s ended the first half of the season with a 11-1-2 record and the best offense in the league with 56 goals scored, while averaging only one goal allowed per game.
“The first half of the season was satisfying because of our efficiency on both sides of the field, our quality performances, and our results,” said Philippe Eullaffroy. “It’s hopeful for the young players that developed well and progressed. They are knocking on the first team’s door.”
One of the challenges in the Development Academy is to be consistent in your performances week after week, even if the opponent is not always on the same level and offers different challenges.
“Our role as educators of young players is to make them understand that although the result is important, there’s no point in winning without playing well since the goal is to progress,” said Eulaffroy. “No matter who the opponent is, there is always room for improvement. The challenges and goals are different from one game to another.”
Beachside SC’s visit to Centre Nutrilait was one of the memorable games since the beginning of the season. The team from Connecticut was coming to Montreal with only four goals allowed in five games, and featured one of the best defenses in the league. The Bleu-blanc-noir applied its game plan perfectly and won 10-1.
“What’s interesting is that even when we dominate a team, there is no slacking and we maintain our quality of play for 90 minutes,” added Eulaffroy. “We keep playing our way, respecting the game and the opponent, while validating the work done in the previous weeks.”
When asked about a benchmark game this season, Philippe Eullaffroy mentions the first half against New York City FC, a game won 2-0 by the Impact.
“They were coming to Montreal unbeaten and it’s the big team in the group,” said Eulaffroy. “We played a quality first half and applied our game plan against a high-level team. However, the second half was harder for us and for the first time, we were pushed back into our own zone. But in the end, we won and showed that our players are ready to fight and support each other to get the result.”
If they want to remain one of the best teams of the league until the end of the season, Eulaffroy knows there’s one area that needs to improve.
“The players are used to being dominant, but when it’s harder, they become impatient and the quality goes down,” said Eulaffroy. “We need to make them understand that they have to find solutions to adapt to the opponent and dominate. It’s an important step in their individual and collective development: How to remain calm when you’re in the heat of the action.”
Philippe Eullaffroy’s team will count on good preparation in the second half of the season. The players will begin training again in the first half of January and will play against university teams in Quebec before getting back into the championship in March.