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Montreal Impact look to bounce back in important two-game week

Remi Garde on Harry Novillo’s contract termination: “It’s a failure.”

Jul 20, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Montreal Impact midfielder Saphir Taider (8) dribbles during the second half against the Columbus Crew SC at MAPFRE Stadium. (Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports)

MONTREAL — Following a frustrating loss to Columbus Crew SC, the Montreal Impact started an important week for their organization. 

The Impact have two home games on the docket this week: A Canadian Championship tie against York 9 FC Wednesday and a clash with Eastern conference leaders Philadelphia Union Saturday. For Shamit Shome, the Impact need to go back to the collective effort from the team’s successful start.

“Maybe we became a bit complacent,” Shome said. “Maybe with that three-week break we lost our momentum. We hate to see that, we need to go back to what we did at the beginning of the season.”

Tied 2-2 on aggregate after the home leg in York, the Impact are set to host the return leg at Stade Saputo. The Impact don’t necessarily need a win to advance, but this game has a must-win feel to it.

“I think it’s a game that we have to win, nobody would understand if we couldn’t win that game,” coach Remi Garde said. “We are going to play at home and we need to get a result from that game.”  

Tuesday’s training session will be a crucial one for Ignacio Piatti. The Argentine is inching towards a comeback and the results of that practice may give him the green light for Wednesday.

“He needs to go through this training session first and then we will see if he can give some minutes (Wednesday),” Garde said. 

Garde on Novillo: ‘It’s a failure.’

Garde took full responsibility following the news that the Impact terminated Harry Novillo’s contract. The Martinique international had signed a two-year deal involving Targeted Allocation Money at the beginning of the year to rejoin Garde after both were previously in the Lyon organization. 

“I think it’s a failure,” Garde said. “I assume the responsibility and that’s all that I want to say.”  

Asked if Novillo’s exit would help the Impact’s togetherness going forward, Garde answered: “I don’t know, why not?” 

Lappalainen training with the squad, hopeful for Saturday

Lassi Lappalainen had his first taste of Montreal this week. The Finland international was training with the Impact Monday and Tuesday even if the news of his transfer hadn’t been made official yet. The 20 year-old trained with a number-less uniform. 

The hope for Garde and the Impact is to get the necessary paperwork from Bologna FC in time for Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Union. Bologna acquired Lappalainen from Finnish side HJK Helsinki and would stay on loan in Montreal for the remainder of the 2019 MLS season. 

“On one side he’s played a lot of games in the previous months, which is good. I think he’s fit,” Garde said. “On the other side, it’s a new environment and he’s young.”

Garde said that Lappalainen could be a longer-term player to think about because of his young age. However, the Frenchman added he was “pretty sure that he will help us soon.” 

Fellow Finnish national team player Jukka Raitala could come as an advantage for the Impact. Garde agreed that a fellow countryman could help the 20 year-old adapt quicker, but stressed the strongest language is football.  

 “When you are a football player you should be able to understand what’s happening on the field without having the same language,” Garde added. 




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