Heading into their longest home stint yet, the Montreal Impact pulled a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake. Goals from Omar Browne and Saphir Taider proved enough to grab all three points for the first time since May 8.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
Playing a full 90 minutes
Montreal got the steam engine rolling early in the first half. In fact, the Impact finally managed to bank a first-half goal. Omar Browne’s shot with second to go in the first half was the first goal within the initial 45 since Ignacio Piatti’s strike against Orlando City on March 16.
The goal was Montreal’s sixth scored between kickoff and the halftime whistle this season. Compared to the 12 scored from halftime onward, there is still ground to make up for the Impact. For Rémi Garde, consistency through the full 90 minutes in an encouraging sight, but Garde felt like his team was making strides already.
“It’s true that the last time we played here against New England our first half was as good, if not better, than this one,” Garde said. “We were more consistent on the first 45, in the second half was tougher. So, yeah, we increase the playing time in which we were good.”
Garde acknowledged that Stade Saputo’s pitch quality added to his team’s game on Wednesday. For the first time this season, the natural grass surface at the Impact’s home ground was consistently green throughout.
“I also think that the pitch was also friendlier for a faster playing style,” Garde said. “We saw tonight as opposed to the first three home games where the ball wasn’t rolling as fast, where it was much more difficult to attack than to defend. I think we had a lot more control technically. I think we can do even better.”
Home stint objective: Seven points
With the win, the Impact started their three-game home stand on the right foot. The stint leading into the June break will be the Impact’s longest at home yet, and the team wants to take advantage. No one will hide the fact that all nine points would mean the world, but the Impact’s objective was set at seven points.
“Clearly you want to get nine points,” Evan Bush said. “But with the way the schedule is and some guys not being around for the third game, seven is something that we’d be content with. Certainly we don’t want to get into the next game and tie and say that we’re happy.”
Bush and the Impact are so set on heading into the June break on a high note that they purposefully dimmed their postgame celebrations with home supporters.
“There’s a reason that there was a very reserved group around the field,” Bush said. “There wasn’t excessive celebrations with the supporters groups because I told them that once we hit our goals for the week then we’ll celebrate the proper way before our long break.”
‘Not content with being around the top’
At the midway mark in the season, the Impact rank third in the Eastern conference with 24 points and a 7-6-3 record.
While there certainly are positives — 14 points recorded on the road being one of them — Montreal isn’t completely satisfied with what it has. For Bush, the first half of the season was a good start, but the bulk of the work will need to be done in the home stretch.
“I think it was always the intention to get to this part of the season and be in a good spot, then really take off in the second half of the season,” Bush said. “We’re not certainly content with being around the top, we want to stay around the top.”
“We have goals that we want to hit and we’re in a position right now to make a run and hit those goals,” he added.
With 12 league games at home to look forward to, the Impact will try to continue their momentum and make a first playoff appearance since 2016.