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Montreal Impact look to return to winning ways with Real Salt Lake game

Montreal coach Remi Garde expects his club to build on the strong second half it delivered during a loss at surging LAFC.

MONTREAL — After a tough 4-2 loss at LAFC, the Montreal Impact have a midweek affair with Real Salt Lake to regroup.

Coach Remi Garde needs his team to build on its strong second half against LAFC to bounce back on Wednesday.

“We won the second half 2-1,” Garde said. “Now of course they maybe would not have played this way if it wasn’t 3-0 at halftime, but nevertheless we are team — the only one I think — that scored two goals in LA (this season).”

Zakaria Diallo said the Impact gave LAFC too much respect. With a string of three home games before the June break, the center back thinks that Montreal needs three points against RSL.

“I thought that we let them play a little too much, we were a little too kind,” Diallo said of LAFC. “I think that we’ll only hold onto the second half and focus on Wednesday.”

With the June break approaching, the Impact have three straight home games — their biggest string of games in Montreal yet. With only one win this month dating back to May 8, Diallo said this is a great opportunity for his team to get back to winning ways.

“We have the chance to have three games at home, we need to take advantage of that,” Diallo said. “Wednesday we play Salt Lake, a team that won and that’s confident right now. We are at home and we need to take all three points. It’s been three, four games that we haven’t won, so we need to show our teeth.”

Piatti, Okwonkwo, questionable

Ignacio Piatti and Orji Okwonkwo were both undergoing medical exams during the Impact’s training session on Monday morning. Garde said that Piatti felt his initial injury — a knee injury dating back from March — resurfacing. Okwonkwo was forced to leave the LAFC game due to a hamstring injury.

“We will wait, I don’t know what the situation will be, but of course it’s difficult, especially for Nacho,” Garde said. “Coming back and for the moment it was going pretty well, between the calf and the knee. Now the fact that he was in pain at the end of the game, there’s always a little bit of worry.”

Garde and his staff did not have the results for either Piatti or Okwonkwo’s exams, leaving their statuses for Wednesday as questionable. The team has faced similar situations this season and will need to carry on regardless.

“We have to adapt, there’s nothing else to do for now,” Garde said. “Without minimizing Nacho’s eventual absence, it’s a group and we must have hope. We have more of it when Nacho’s here but we need to have hope in all circumstances.”

Browne and Novillo return, Taider closer to full strength

The Impact did get some positive news on the offensive front. Wingers Omar Browne and Harry Novillo rejoined the squad in full training on Monday morning.

Browne was suffering from a groin injury. The Panama international hasn’t played since the 2-1 loss to FC Cincinnati. On his end, Novillo was suffering from a back injury and has not seen the field since the Impact’s 2-0 loss to NYCFC.

Garde also mentioned that Saphir Taider is “better” following the knocks that slowed him. The Algerian international is still not playing at 100%, but Garde feels his designated player is inching closer to it.

“Saphir still has a small issue, that’s what he’s saying,” Garde said. “He doesn’t feel completely free when he plays, but he’s playing better and I think it shows in his performance. He had a game that was closer to level that we all hope to see on the field (against LAFC). I think he’s on the right track to get back to his highest level.”

The Impact will start their three-game home stint on Wednesday night as they host Real Salt Lake at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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