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Pressure? Bring it on


Montreal confident heading into tilt with D.C. United

The Montreal Impact has been playing some big games as of late. And all things considered, it’s done pretty well for itself. The team has lost just once in seven games, and is unbeaten in its last three, all the while maintaining that sixth and last playoff spot in the East, keeping its closest pursuers behind it in the standings.

 “These last few months, we’ve played a lot of important games,” said midfielder Saphir Taïder. “That’s what we love as football players. We’ve approached these games with more maturity and more tranquility. The proof being that in the last two games, we’ve come back after conceding first. It’s a good thing. We’re on the right path, and we continue to grow everyday.”

But this weekend may be the Bleu-blanc-noir’s biggest test yet, as it gets set to travel to the American capital to take on its closest pursuer, D.C. United, who sits just five points behind the Impact with two games in hand.

A win against the Wayne Rooney and his teammates would in no means clinch a playoff spot for the Bleu-blanc-noir, just like a loss wouldn’t knock them out of the race. But a favourable result for the Impact at Audi Field would seriously increase their chances of participating in the Fall tournament.

“The pressure is on both teams,” said head coach Rémi Garde. “I think the players are conscious of that, and at the end, we’re pretty happy to be feeling this pressure. A few months ago, we wanted nothing more than to feel this pressure. Now it’s here, so we’re going to take it.”

Important progression for the Bleu-blanc-noir

If the Impact finds itself in this situation, it’s because it successfully found a way to turn its season around after a difficult start to the campaign. The Impact went 4-11-0 in its first 15 games, compared to 8-3-4 in its last 15. Even more telling is the fact that the team has allowed just 16 goals in its last 15 games, compared to 31 in the first 15.

That progression was especially highlighted in the club’s last three games, in which the Impact won twice and tied once, last week against New York City FC. In those three games, all against teams higher than the Bleu-blanc-noir in the standings, the Impact scored eight goals, while allowing only two.

“We’ve progressed even more these last few weeks,” said defender Bacary Sagna. “We’re more compact and solid defensively, and we’ll need to continue that way. We have the quality to play good football and impose ourselves. They’ll try to pressure us right away on Saturday. It’ll be on us to do what we need to do to play our game and play with serenity.

The game at Audi Field will kick off at 7:00pm and will be live on TVA Sports. The Impact will then head back to Stade Saputo for another important matchup against the Columbus Crew SC on Saturday, October 6 at 3pm. Excellent tickets remain available on