MONTREAL — It is customary for Montreal Impact fans at Stade Saputo to chant the names of goal scorers three times. For the first time since March, fans got to chant Ignacio Piatti’s name.
The Argentine returned to the pitch for the first time since May 24 and scored the lone goal in a 1-0 Montreal Impact win over York 9 FC. With a 3-2 aggregate score, the Impact advanced to the Canadian Championship semifinals.
As he celebrated his third goal in Canadian Championship history, Piatti tucked the ball underneath his shirt. A celebration he wanted to make for a little while now.
“The celebration was because I’m going to have another baby so I’m pretty happy about that,” Piatti said. “It’s been a while, but since I wasn’t playing the celebration (happened only tonight) but I hope to continue like that.”
After training with the squad for the past two weeks, Piatti had to readapt to the several injuries he suffered this season. The designated player mentioned knee, calf and hamstring issues that kept him off the field.
“I did everything to play against Columbus (last Saturday) but I had pain in my adductor so I couldn’t go,” he said. “So I trained Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to get a start in the Canadian Championship.
“Not having pain in my knee is magnificent for me, mentally.”
Head coach Remi Garde did not want to reveal the reason why he gave Piatti his first start in two months. However, Garde enjoyed what his Designated Player brought to the field.
“He was so impatient and honestly I was pleasantly surprised by what he brought to the team,” Garde said. “At halftime I asked him if he was alright and of course he said yes, like he always does.
“If I would’ve let him finish the game he would’ve burned to the ground, but he would’ve finished the game anyway.”
Midweek win an added boost
Wednesday night’s win snaps a five-game winless streak in all competitions. For Garde, his team’s performance against York 9 is a step in the right direction.
“It’s a boost for the remainder of the season,” Garde said. “I think that this game was really important to get us back on the right track.”
Garde also stressed that getting a clean sheet, regardless of the competition, was a positive for his team. Despite not getting a goal in the run of play, the Frenchman thinks that the Impact’s win was a mental one.
“It’s a first step back to what we can do,” Garde said. “Overall, the improvement in team spirit and the way we played was interesting. It’s not enough but it’s back on the right track.”
The Impact will take on the winner of the Vancouver Whitecaps – Cavalry FC (Calgary) matchup in the Canadian Championship semifinals. The Ottawa Fury will take on Toronto FC in the other semifinal of the tournament.