The Montreal Impact are in dire need of a break.
Thierry Henry and his squad are slipping down the Eastern Conference standings after suffering their fourth straight loss, a 4-1 defeat to the New York Red Bulls. The losing streaking has struck just as the club has temporarily set up its base at Red Bull Arena due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Impact have not been back in Montreal since starting their stretch of games in the U.S.
“It’s not easy to deal with,” Henry said. “On my end, I’m trying to see how the players can come back from this from a mental standpoint.”
On two instances in their three-game week, last Sunday against the Philadelphia Union and against the Red Bulls, the Impact scored first and then allowed four unanswered goals. With few options off the bench due to suspensions and injuries, forward Maxi Urruti believes that team unity will be the key going forward.
“It’s a difficult moment right now,” Urruti said. “After the game we stayed in the locker room. The situation is very bad, but we need to stay focused and on the same page."
"I learned what we already knew: It would be tough, players are injured, we are far from the families, we don’t play at home," Henry added. "It doesn't excuse what happened against Philadelphia and Vancouver, when we made it difficult on ourselves. But when you lose, play with 10 men, travel without going home, that leads to what happened in the last two games: some physical fatigue, but mainly mental fatigue."
Highlights: NY Red Bulls 4, Montreal Impact 1
Following the Impact’s three-game week, Henry said that the club took the decision on Saturday to fly back to Montreal. The caveat will be that the Impact will not be able to train while in their home city.
“We took the option to come back because at some point the guys need to see their families,” Henry said. “Knowing that we’ll be back and then play a marathon of games, not easy to deal with, but we’re trying to find the solutions. Like tonight, you saw that there wasn’t a forward on the bench.”
One player particularly happy to be heading back to Quebec is Samuel Piette. The midfielder, who recently welcomed his first child, didn’t hide the fact that he appreciated the club’s decision.
"After four losses in a row, it couldn’t have been better timing to go back home with our loved ones and take some time off. I know that’s the case for me,” Piette said. “I think now it’ll be about taking some time off and reflecting on what we’ve done wrong, look ourselves in the mirror–each of us–and eventually when we’ll be back together look at things that we need to correct.”
Evan Bush to be traded
Goalkeeper Evan Bush will reportedly be traded from the Montreal Impact to the Vancouver Whitecaps. The 37 year old was left out of the 18-man matchday roster against the New York Red Bulls and following the match, Henry was asked about his absence. The Frenchman answered: “Simply put, there will be a trade.”
Henry added that Bush was: “An amazing professional for the club” and that “I will talk to him personally.”
Bush did not play a single minute for the Impact this season. He joined Montreal in 2011 and clocked in a total of 15,801 minutes for the club in its MLS era.