The Montreal Impact fired head coach Rémi Garde and immediately named Wilmer Cabrera as his replacement, the club announced Wednesday.
Cabrera, who was dismissed as the Houston Dynamo’s coach Aug. 13, is Montreal’s sixth all-time head coach as the side fights to stay in playoff position with seven games left in the regular season. The Impact (10-13-4, 34 points) are currently in seventh place with just one win in their last eight league games.
“Because I have so much respect for Rémi as a person and as a professional, it was a very difficult decision to make and it was well thought, but our latest series of failures in the past couple of months and the way the team acts on the field led to that change,” Montreal Impact president and CEO, Kevin Gilmore said in a prepared statement.
“We hope to bring back confidence to this group of players for the last stretch of the season, to get a playoff spot and to perform in the Canadian Championship final.
“I would like to sincerely thank Rémi Garde for his commitment and his professionalism with our club since he joined in November 2017. I wish him only but the best in the future.”
Garde amassed a 24-29-8 record with the Impact. The club is set to play Toronto FC in the Canadian Championship final in September, but is at risk of missing the playoffs for the third consecutive season.
Cabrera, who led Houston to the playoffs once in three full seasons from 2016-2018, will have to get up to speed quickly as his new team is set to visit Toronto for a regular season clash Saturday.
The match could have major implications for Montreal’s playoff hopes, as both sides are even on points even though TFC have a better goal differential and one game in hand on the Impact.
Cabrera, 51, is taking on his seventh head coaching job. His previous stints include B.W. Gottschee, the United States U-18 and U-17 teams, Chivas USA, and the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros.
The Colombia native, whose playing career lasted from 1985 to 2005 and included stops in Colombia, Costa Rica, and the U.S., also served as an assistant for the Colorado Rapids and at Suffolk Community College.