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Montreal Impact pushing to build on early success when they host NYCFC

Despite not allowing a single goal at home during 180 minutes, the Montreal Impact do not want to bank on recent success.

Apr 28, 2019; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Impact defender Zakaria Diallo (5) plays the ball during the second half of the game against the Chicago Fire at Stade Saputo. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

MONTREAL — Despite not allowing a single goal at home during 180 minutes, the Montreal Impact do not want to bank on recent success.

“I repeat to my players that winning culture is something that is cultivated,” Montreal head coach Remi Garde said. “To be satisfied with what we’ve done up until now would be a mistake. I don’t think that the players would be where they are today if it was the case.” 

Having played all but two games on the road during its first 10 games, Montreal finds itself third in the Eastern Conference. Heading into Saturday’s home game against NYCFC, the Impact remain humble about what they’ve accomplished. 

“We’re almost a third  through the season. I think it’s important to keep that in mind,” Daniel Lovitz said ahead of the Impact’s next match set to kick off at 5 p.m. ET at Stade Saputo. “There’s still a lot of games to be played and a lot of progress to be made to get where we want to be.” 

For Garde, what’s most important is that his team recognizes that it was collective work — not talent — that was ultimately responsible for its success. 

“We don’t have the most flamboyant play in MLS, but today I think that we can pull the quintessence of this squad,” Garde said. “If we continue like that, I don’t see why those results wouldn’t continue.” 

Piatti unavailable, Sagna uncertain

Ignacio Piatti will sit out Saturday’s game against NYCFC. The Argentine suffered an injury, which according to Garde, was different from his original injury.

“For Nacho, it will be too soon for next game,” Garde said. “I hope that for the next two games on the road he can be with the squad.”

Garde said it is tough to pinpoint the exact reason for Piatti’s new injury. He added that despite making sure the Argentine’s rehab was as smooth as possible, weather and field conditions could be at fault.

“The temperature changes every day, I think that the day it happened it was [about 60 degrees.] We were all hot all of a sudden,” Garde said. “Then the next day it was cold. In terms of [practice fields], we go from the synthetic pitch to a surface that I wouldn’t qualify as grass for the moment, unfortunately.”

Bacary Sagna’s chances to play Saturday are slim, with Garde mentioning it “will be too soon” for him to play as well. With the former French international most likely out, Garde has the option of playing Zachary Brault-Guillard. The 20 year-old loanee from Lyon has been turning heads this season.

“He’s a young player but he has very good physical abilities,” said Garde. “He’s been working very hard on the technical and tactical stuff. I think they are the two rooms of improvement he can have in his game.” 

Garde: NYCFC different team on road

According to Garde, the Impact’s next opponent has a trick up its sleeve. NYCFC shows a different face when it goes on the road.  

“I think that this team are playing different football when they are playing away because of many times the pitch is bigger than Yankee Stadium’s,” Garde said. “Also, they are playing against teams that are playing themselves at home, that are more attacking, leave more space between the players. In that case, NYCFC can be a very good team.” 

For Samuel Piette, facing Maxi Moralez as well as Héber will be a tough task on Saturday. Moralez didn’t feature in the teams’ 0-0 draw back in April, while Heber had just arrived from his former club.

“I think NYCFC is a very good team with the ball possession-wise,” Piette said. “They have very good players for that like Maxi Morales, their new striker Heber player a few games with them so he’s more comfortable. I think it’s going to be very difficult to contain them for us defensively.” 

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