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Montreal Impact seek stability ahead of important two-week stretch

Montreal has four games across MLS and Canadian Championship play in the next 12 days.

Aug 3, 2019; Commerce City, CO, USA; Montreal Impact defender Zachary Brault-Guillard (15) tries to control the ball against Colorado Rapids forward Andre Shinyashiki (99) during the first half at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. (Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports.)

MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact have had quite a few highs and lows lately.

Remí Garde’s squad went from losing four straight games to beating conference leaders Philadelphia Union 4-0. To follow up, the Impact travelled to Colorado where they suffered a 6-3 loss to the Rapids. For the Impact, it’s either tremendous or terrible.

“That’s the kind of thing that sucks the life out of you,” Daniel Lovitz said of the situation. “Think you’ve dug yourself out of a hole to then end up in one that feels much deeper than before.”

Ahead of a two-week stint filled with four games, Garde took time before Monday’s training session to have a talk with his team. Garde didn’t want to disclose the matters of the 10-minute discussion. He simply used the French expression “washing your dirty clothes amongst the family,” meaning solving your conflicts internally.

“Sometimes clothes aren’t necessarily dirty, but we still wash them amongst the family,” Garde said. “We all need to be responsible. We of course have rights as players and coaches, but we most have obligations and now we have an obligation to react and to act as professionals.”

Canadian Championship: Cavalry FC up next

The Impact won’t have a lot of time to think about their loss in Colorado. Calgary’s Cavalry FC will visit Stade Saputo Wednesday for the first leg of the Canadian Championship semifinal. 

Cavalry FC, coached by 2018 USL League Two championship-winning manager Tommy Wheeldon Jr, eliminated the Vancouver Whitecaps to advance. Garde gave credit to the Alberta-based team, saying that eliminating Vancouver wasn’t a fluke. 

“I think that their great strength is togetherness. If there is a word to characterize them, it would be that,” Garde said. “They certainly acquired even more confidence after that exploit. They are once again in a position where they have nothing to lose, they have everything to win. We know these scenarios in cup play, we’ll need to be really strong.” 

Garde added that the team will double its efforts on practicing set pieces, which were an issue during the Colorado game. 

“It will be an important point, like in many games,” Garde said. “I watched the weekend recap in MLS and there are a lot of goal scores from set pieces, especially when teams are less attentive to mark and are less aggressive.” 

Four games in 12 days

The Impact are heading toward an important set of games. In the next 12 days, Montreal has four games in across MLS and Canadian Championship play. 

“On one side, you can say it’s difficult because the fixtures are close together, but on the other it’s very exciting,” Garde said. “We are still involved in both targets we had at the beginning of the season. This is something exceptional.” 

Following Wednesday’s game, the Impact will head over to Bridgeview, Ill., to play the Chicago Fire on Saturday. Instead of returning to Montreal, the Impact will head straight to Calgary on Sunday ahead of the Canadian Championship return leg Aug. 14. 

“We try to maximize the recovering for the players,” Garde said. “I think on one side, for sure they will be out of their homes for a few days, but I think that it was the best solution for us.”  

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