MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact aren’t interested in playing spoilers on Sunday. The goal is simply looking for a second home win in MLS play since Wilmer Cabrera took over as head coach in late August.
“What we have to take care of is the fans and the situation of the club,” Cabrera said. “We haven’t won at home, we have to win. We have to finish the last game of the season winning against a very tough opponent.”
Against the New York Red Bulls on Decision Day, the Impact will also look at one last win for their fan appreciation day. The players feel they owe them the positive ending to a whirlwind 2019.
“It’s a last home game, we need to finish well,” said Ignacio Piatti. “We need to win to thank the supporters that came this year and that are behind us at all times.”
During Friday morning’s practice, Cabrera did not give the impression of giving youth players a chance to get minutes Sunday. During an 11-on-11 drill, the Colombian aligned a 4-2-3-1 ‘A’ squad filled with usual starters, including a backline featuring a Rudy Camacho and Rod Fanni partnership with Jukka Raitala at left back. Bacary Sagna completed the defensive line on the right.
Clement Diop took the ‘A’ squad’s nets during the drill, giving the impression that he would have his spot in the Impact last starting XI of 2019. The Senegalese international has started the Impact’s last two games in all competitions.
Taider expects to be back in 2020
Saphir Taider saw the last few days of the season with a good eye. Despite being out of contention for the playoffs, the Algerian is looking forward to 2020.
“I have two years left on my contract here,” Taider said. “For now, and with my drive, I will be here next season.”
Friday’s practice also served as the team photo day. Taider understood some of the players in the photo frame may not be back next season.
“It’s part of a footballer’s life and also the life of a club,” he said. “We don’t know what the club will look like next season. We know that there’s a game on Sunday, it’s up to us to finish the season in the best of ways and the people above us will deal with this situation.”
Question marks around Piatti
Unlike Taider, Piatti did not confirm his presence for the 2020 season. The Argentine has a club option to his designated player contract worth $4,443,333.37, according to the MLS Players Union. Piatti admitted he didn’t know if sporting director Olivier Renard would pick up his option for the upcoming season.
“If it was up to me, I’d be here no problem. But it’s not up to me,” Piatti said. “If I need to leave, I will thank everyone. If I get to come back next year, I will 100 percent be here.”
Piatti missed most of the 2019 season due to injury, making things difficult for the Impact. The Argentine admitted this has been a difficult year for him on and off the field.
“It’s crazy because now I feel good. I was injured for all of the season and now that I start feeling good again the season’s over,” he said. “This year was tough for me, mentally as well. I’m finishing well, I might get to play on Sunday and after that we’ll see. There’s the Concacaf Champions League coming up so that’s a big motivation, but it depends on the club, not me.”
Piatti said 2020 would be “a big year” for the Impact and hopes Renard will pull the right strings in order for the Impact to perform.
“We hope that [Renard] knows how to do things well here because this is a big club and you need to see things out well on the sporting side,” Piatti said. “Next year there are a lot of things to play for and we can do a lot better than this year.”
Taider had nothing but praise for Piatti, adding he would like to see him back in 2020.
“Before being a teammate he’s a great guy. He’s appreciated by everyone, now he has an option on his contract,” Taider said. “It’s up to the people at the club to talk to him and make the decisions. Anyways, I’m really happy to have played two seasons with him and I’ll try to take in as much as I can by his side [on Sunday], you never know.”