MONTREAL — After eight days at the helm, Montreal Impact head coach Wilmer Cabrera doesn’t think the dust has settled quite yet.
“No way, there is more and more pressure every time. It’s just normal,” Cabrera said. “There has to be pressure and that’s why I’m here, because I can deal with that pressure. That’s my job. If we win, we’re good. If we lose, I’m the worst.”
In last season’s race for the playoffs, a red hot D.C. United thumped the Impact 5-0 at Audi Field. Daniel Lovitz remembers that game and would like a different outcome when the teams meet this weekend. With a win, Montreal would hop over D.C. and grab the fifth spot in the Eastern conference.
“I would love to give them a 5-0 loss, I think we owe them that,” Lovitz said. “They are very close to us in the standings. Hopefully this is a team that we can brush shoulders with briefly as we pass them and that’s the last that we hear or see of them. I think that should be our mindset.”
Cabrera stuck to the motto he uttered earlier this week: Saturday’s game will be the Impact’s most crucial.
“It’s the most important game of our season right now,” he said. “So now we’re trying to be sure that we are going to be ready to face the game and hopefully we can perform and at the end we can win.”
No Rooney for DC
The Impact will have the advantage of playing a Wayne Rooney-less D.C. United on Saturday. The MLS disciplinary committee gave Rooney an additional suspended game for his red card taken in D.C.’s 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls. For Lovitz, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the game will be easier.
“Some guys in the past had been a little more concerned about getting his jersey than playing against him,” Lovitz said. “I think that this go around it will be important that we play the team straight up. Even if he’s not there that means that there’s going to be one player that wasn’t usually getting time that will look to make a mark.”
Bojan Krkic added Rooney’s absence “doesn’t matter” to his team: “The most important is us. We play at home and we need to win. For us it’s very important.”
Victor Cabrera, Fanni back at training
Victor Cabrera and Rod Fanni made returns to full training during Friday’s training session. Victor Cabrera was sidelined with an elbow injury and was rumored to miss the rest of the season. His head coach denied those rumours Friday morning.
“No, [his season] is not over, he’s fighting to get on the field,” Wilmer Cabrera said before the training session. The Argentine center back was then seen training with the squad.
— Tristan D'Amours (@tristandamours) August 30, 2019
Fanni also took part in his first training session. The Frenchman re-signed with Montreal Monday with the hopes of helping the club make the playoffs.
— Nicolas A Martineau (@nikmartineauTVA) August 30, 2019
The Impact are set to host D.C. United at Stade Saputo Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.