With Ignacio Piatti sidelined for weeks with a knee injury, it would not have been a surprise to see the Montreal Impact struggle to earn points. Adding on to the challenge of playing without Piatti is the fact that Montreal had just two home games among the seven they have played without Piatti.
Despite all this, Remi Garde's team ends Week 9 tied with D.C. United atop the Eastern Conference standings. Six of their 17 points came in Week 9, as the Impact beat the New England Revolution 3-0 at Foxborough on Wednesday and ended the week on Sunday with a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire.
"We are not so fragile anymore," Garde said after Sunday's win, commenting on how his team has changed since since last year. "...To win games sometimes it's about technique, sometimes it's about [tactics], but you cannot win a game if you are not mentally prepared to battle because it's always a battle, especially in MLS. I'm proud of the way my players give answers on this level."
What is especially encouraging for the Impact is the team's two consecutive clean sheets. They came into the week having conceded 14 goals in their first eight matches, including seven against Sporting Kansas City on March 30.
“We feel very confident,” said midfielder Samuel Piette. “It’s our second win at home, and both came by clean sheet. It proves that we’re really solid defensively, and when we do get chances, we convert them. There’s a lot of positive to take, but we can’t be satisfied, and we need to continue.”
The Impact have a condensed schedule against Eastern Conference foes coming up as they take on New York City FC next Saturday at home before road trips to face the New York Red Bulls and FC Cincinnati over the following week. More results there and they can begin to tout themselves as the top contender for MLS Cup.