MONTREAL – With the painful final whistle of the 2-1 loss away to the Columbus Crew last Saturday came the start of a two-week break for the Montreal Impact. But count on Jesse Marsch and his staff to make those two weeks decidedly un-break-like.
Despite a surprisingly hot Wednesday morning, the Montreal players took part in a physically demanding first training session this week, complete with extended running sequences at the end.
With five games to go and a playoff spot still a target in the Impact’s camp, fitness seems to be a priority.
“We were anxious to get back to work today, because we were all disappointed,” Marsch told reporters. “Training had good energy today, even on a hot day. We’re going to push the fitness a little bit and we’re going to get guys strong and healthy so that, in this stretch down the last five games, we’re firing on all cylinders.”
And, most of all, that the Impact don’t let points go in the final 15 minutes, as they did in Columbus. While players and staff alike refuse to make excuses, the Ohio humidity did seem to get to their legs, and the fitness work might pay off down the stretch.
For Hassoun Camara, who was serving the second of a two-game suspension against Columbus, it could also be that for a mind to be fit, the body has to be, too.
“I don’t know that it's fatigue that got us that loss in Columbus, because it’s a chain of events that has happened a number of times before,” the French defender said. “It’s no excuse. It’s mainly a concentration thing, so we need to focus notably on those set pieces that have hurt us so much.”