MONTREAL – With two games remaining and the playoffs out of sight, most clubs would be tempted to simply give minutes to hard-working players who have not received much playing time.
That's not the case for the Montreal Impact, who were only eliminated from playoff contention last weekend.
A heated derby with archrivals Toronto FC and a home curtain call against the New England Revolution lie ahead for the Impact and both matches are significant for next season.
Montreal head coach Jesse Marsch admits that fielding a few of the seldom-used players this season has crossed his mind.
“But we also have to make sure that we’re not cheating on what we’re doing this year,” Marsch told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s a delicate balance, and we’re going to figure out how we’re going to get through all that in the next couple of weeks.”
Two objectives remain for Montreal: leaving a good impression on their supporters ahead of 2013, and capturing the first seed for next year’s Amway Canadian Championship.
Both the Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal are 32 games into their season, and they respectively have 42 and 41 points on the board. Although the Impact preferred the New England game to count for the playoff race, it could decide next year’s ACC matchups instead.
In other words, Montreal are not exactly out of meaningful games and they are determined to put out the work ethic to match.
“The feedback from around the league and within the league has been that we’ve had a good team, that we even play a unique brand and that there’s something to this group,” Marsch said. “In the end, we’ll finish this season strong, we’ll make adjustments for next year, we’ll come back next year and it’s another huge challenge again.”
Olivier Tremblay covers the Montreal Impact for MLSsoccer.com.