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Montreal Impact see increased competition as injured players return

Wilmer Cabrera cranked up the intensity in Friday morning’s training session.

Jun 1, 2019; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Impact defender Zachary Brault-Guillard (15) and Orlando City forward Chris Mueller (9) chase the ball during the first half at Stade Saputo. (Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)

MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact’s absentee list was as short as it has been all season Friday morning. Apart from players on international duty, Wílmer Cabrera had his full squad report to the morning training session. 

“There are more people in the ranks in training. We’re going to have to earn our spots,” Zachary Brault-Guillard said. “It’s not easy because there are really talented players. For us, the younger players, it’s about showing that we’re here and that we deserve our spot in training.”

Internal competition has ignited on both sides of the ball. Defensively, Rod Fanni rejoined the squad and has been practicing for the past week. On his side, Víctor Cabrera also returned following an elbow injury. 

Offensively, Ignacio Piatti has resumed training with his teammates after missing most of the season with injuries. The team even competes for places in set piece situations. Bojan Krkić was spotted practicing free kicks during Friday’s training session. 

When asked if training Friday felt more like an audition, Brault-Guillard disagreed. Instead, the Canadian international argued the bigger group is good for the squad. 

“We need to be ready for anything and do everything it takes to make the coach’s decisions difficult,” he said. “I think it’s positive that everyone is coming back. We’re pretty happy and it elevates the level of play.”

Cranked up intensity

Wílmer Cabrera had the opportunity to elevate the intensity level since his team doesn’t play for another week. After the session, he pulled his players to the side and had an impassioned conversation.

“He told us to go forward, that’s the goal,” Clément Bayiha said. “To move forward and score goals, that’s the main goal of the game.”

In Brault-Guillard’s opinion, the intense training session during the break was beneficial for the Impact. It gave the squad a chance to regroup and change the mentality from Remí Garde’s tactics to the Cabrera era. 

“We gave a lot of intensity in this morning’s training from the drills and runs that we made,” Brault-Guillard said. “It was a big session, so we will make sure to get all the treatments we need. We train [on Saturday] and after that it’ll be about continuing the intensity, playing higher up and play less from right to left like we used to do before.” 

International break: Finland wins with Raitala

Four Impact players were called up to their national teams, and two were already in action this week. 

Jukka Raitala started at right back and played the full 90 minutes for Finland in a 1-0 win over Greece in a Euro 2020 qualifier. Norwich City’s Teemu Pukki scored the lone goal from the penalty spot. Lassi Lappalainen was left out of Finland’s lineup due to a minor injury. Head coach Markku Kanerva said he was hopeful the 21-year-old would be back for Sunday’s clash against Italy.

Daniel Lovitz will take on Mexico in a friendly with the United States men’s national team Friday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Lovitz will be in action with the USMNT again Tuesday against Uruguay at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo.

Samuel Piette will face Cuba with the Canadian men’s national team in Concacaf Nations League play Saturday night at BMO Field in Toronto. Piette and Canada will play Cuba again Tuesday at Truman Bodden Sports Complex in the Cayman Islands. 

 

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