The Montreal Impact are in recovery mode, still nursing their wounds from being on the wrong end of a 5-2 score line at Red Bull Arena.
On Saturday, head coach Jesse Marsch emphasized his side’s mental mistakes caused the damage against the Red Bulls, insisting there were “a lot of little things to work on.”
They have the chance to do just that Wednesday night against one of the top team in MLS, Real Salt Lake (9 pm ET; watch LIVE online). The Montreal boss feels a competitive game four days after the New York drubbing helps his team avoid dwelling too much on their plights.
And such an approach on Marsch’s part, it seems, suits his players well.
“We don’t have to wait a whole week to get back to business, so that's good,” midfielder Patrice Bernier told MLSsoccer.com. “We had a great first half, but took our foot off the pedal afterwards, which explains the painful score line. A weeknight game allows us to get our minds off of that as quickly as possible, and hopefully we’ll get a good result.”
Bernier’s optimism notwithstanding, the Impact will enter Wednesday’s game as underdogs, which might not be a bad thing after all because, says Marsch, it can lead to “catching good teams by surprise.”
The Impact are nevertheless still waiting for the franchise’s first MLS win – but according to the gaffer, the team’s attitude will lead to gathering momentum sooner than later.
“Despite the fact that we haven’t got the results, we think that we have a great group of men,” Marsch said. “We’re committed to each other, we’re committed to pushing ourselves each day, and we feel that if we continue to have that kind of mentality ... at some point, we’re going to get ourselves over the hump.”
One of the players who won’t play a part in that on Wednesday is right back Zarek Valentin, who was sent home to Montreal after the New York match.
The 20-year-old struggled against the Red Bulls, losing Theirry Henry on New York’s first goal, committing a turnover on their third and narrowly avoiding conceding a penalty early. It was a tough outing for the youngster, who had just returned to the club after spending two weeks with the US U-23 team at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.
There is no doubt in Marsch’s mind, however, that Valentin is fully dedicated to his club and that his performance on Saturday will not affect him in the long run.
“I think his mental approach to the game was good, he was prepared,” Marsch told MLSsoccer.com by phone from Sandy, Utah. “Everyone on this team is still getting themselves settled into their life in Montreal. We felt it was important for Zarek to go home for a week and make sure that he gets himself fully settled, that he mentally recharges himself and that he’s ready for a good, long season.”