MONTREAL – “That’s the way you open a new stadium.”
Montreal Impact head coach Jesse Marsch was understandably pleased with his team’s performance, a 4-1 stadium-opening win over the Seattle Sounders in which the flurry of goals might have overshadowed what was a dominant and promising midfield performance for Montreal.
In the Impact’s first game at the renovated Stade Saputo, the Montreal boss kept going with his 3-man midfield, which is more and more establishing itself as a top item in Marsch's tactical notebook. The result was periods of impeccable control of the ball at the heart of which lay Patrice Bernier, who picked up three remarkable assists.
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“He balanced us well. He defended well. He did a good job of initiating the attack, and we knew that was going to be important,” Marsch told reporters. “They do a pretty good job of putting initial pressure with their front four guys, but once we were able to link up with Patrice, and then Collen [Warner], and then find the next attacking player, that’s when we had space, and that’s when we were successful. Patrice was a big part of that tonight and, obviously, he set up a bunch of good attacking plays. I’m happy for him.”
Substituted off after 77 minutes of excellent work, Bernier was deservedly treated to a standing ovation from his hometown crowd. Playing arguably his best game since his move to MLS in front of fellow Montrealers clearly delighted the 32-year-old.
“It was great. As a soccer player, you want to play those games in front of such supportive crowds,” Bernier said. “I’m blessed with a career in soccer, and I’m going to appreciate those feelings because I don’t have that many years in front of me.”
What the Impact do have in front of them is a quick turnaround for their next game, this Wednesday against Chivas USA. This being said, Jesse Marsch's mantra, ever since the season started, has been to keep pushing every single day, and playing 7 games over 23 days is certainly not going to change it.
“We can’t stop. That’s the key. We can’t stop,” Marsch insisted. “All year long, we cannot stop for one second to pat ourselves in the back or to be sorrowful for bad performances. We've just got to keep going. That's the only way we're going to continue to make progress.”