Montreal coach Remi Garde hoping for more spontaneous Impact against Crew - InfoNews

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Montreal coach Remi Garde hoping for more spontaneous Impact against Crew

Remi Garde sports the team colours as he is presented as the new head coach of the Montreal Impact during a news conference in Montreal on Wednesday, November 8, 2017. New Impact coach Remi Garde wants his club to play with more purpose and resolve after a flat performance in their season opener. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
March 09, 2018 - 11:27 AM

MONTREAL - New Impact coach Remi Garde wants his club to play with more purpose and resolve after a flat performance in their season opener.

Garde and the new-look Montreal Impact are on the road to play the Columbus Crew in Major League Soccer action on Saturday afternoon. Montreal lost its first game of the season 2-1 against the Vancouver Whitecaps last week.

"I want them to be more spontaneous, more involved," said Garde on Thursday. "We need to act instead of react. I need our first-half play to be less timid than it was in Vancouver.

"We were apprehensive in the opener, but I hope we're over all that. We need to start games the way we ended the one in Vancouver: with a lot of possession and scoring chances."

The Whitecaps completely dominated the first half and exposed Montreal's frailties on defence, ultimately scoring twice within seven minutes in the second half.

Matteo Mancosu revitalized his side with a headed goal in the 81st minute. The Italian striker nearly tied the match five minutes later but his shot went wide.

"If we play like we played in Vancouver, but with a little more concentration, I think we can win there (in Columbus)" said midfielder Ignacio Piatti, Montreal's most dangerous player. "And that can help us in the coming games."

The Impact (0-1-0) have a big test ahead of them as they look for their first win in Columbus since June 6, 2015. Montreal is 1-6-2 all-time at MAPFRE Stadium.

The Crew (1-0-0) are coming off a resounding 2-0 victory over defending MLS Cup champions Toronto FC on opening day, scoring twice on quick transitions. Columbus is a speedy side that plays good counter-attacking football, and they made a big statement by beating Toronto.

Gregg Berhalter's team lost Ola Kamara (traded to the Los Angeles Galaxy) and Justin Meram (traded to Orlando City) in the off-season but Argentine midfielder Federico Higuain still plays for the Crew.

Higuain netted Columbus' first goal in Toronto. He has scored a team-high six goals in 13 games against Montreal in his career. Since joining the Crew in 2012, the 33-year-old veteran has scored 49 times and added 49 assists.

Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush had high praise for Higuain.

"He's been one of the best players in this league for a number of years now," said Bush, who made two saves in Vancouver. "He's unpredictable. You can't watch a game tape and say he's going to turn up in this spot or this spot. He kind of floats around and it becomes a headache for the other team because you don't know where he's going to pop up."

Higuain will test Montreal's delicate back-line on Saturday afternoon.

The Impact no longer have defenders Hassoun Camara, Laurent Ciman or Ambroise Oyongo, who all left after last season. Meanwhile Kyle Fisher has a fractured shin and Zakaria Diallo is out at least five months with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

On Monday, Montreal signed 36-year-old French centre back Rod Fanni to fill the void left by Diallo's injury. Fanni signed a contract through June 30 with an option to play until the end of the season.

Fanni has played 362 games in France's top division, mostly with Rennes and Marseilles. It's not clear if he'll be in the lineup against Columbus.

"I know that last game they (Montreal) played very compact for the most part, not a lot of space between the lines," Berhalter told the Crew's website. "And they were still able to threaten at times with the counter attack and a couple of times with Mancosu running behind the line and finding space.

"He's a very clever player so I'm sure he'll be looking to get behind us."

Notes: The Crew are unbeaten at home in nine games.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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