Third straight home loss has once high-flying Montreal Impact with their backs against the wall in playoff race

MONTREAL – Something was missing.

Explaining the 1-0 loss to the New England Revolution on Saturday was a challenging task in the Montreal Impact locker room. The defeat, captain Davy Arnaud said, left his teammates and him “a bit shocked.”

Some attempted to attribute the defeat to a lack of penetration in the box, to the difficulty of chasing a goal for an hour or to the lack of offensive movement. But ultimately, according to head coach Marco Schällibaum, although his team still wanted to do more, it was just “one of those days.”

“And it’s not easy against such a good team,” Schällibaum continued. “This defeat hurts, because it could have been relieving. That’s what’s important: we’ve got to set ourselves free, at least make it 1-1, it would have been relieving, but now, we’re in a tricky situation. The more we lose, the trickier is gets. Three tough games remain. It’s not easy to be all philosophical after a game, but we weren’t good enough today.”

Schällibaum and the players all lamented the dearth of scoring chances, but they did come up against José Gonçalves and A.J. Soares, both excellent on the day in what might have been the best defensive performance by any opponent at Stade Saputo this season.

But then again, it was a good performance all over the field. New England hogged the ball from the start and dictated the tempo, pushing Montreal in their own half throughout the first 45 minutes.

“We got lost a bit in the first half,” midfielder Patrice Bernier told reporters. “We made many mistakes and couldn’t get into the game against a very good team with the ball. We weren't at the level we wanted to be in such an important game. We conceded, and we chased the ball today even though we pushed in the end.”

And the important games keep coming. Once all-conquering at home, Montreal have now lost their last three home games and four of their last five overall. They were in the race for the Supporters Shield not long ago. Now, it’s about making the playoffs.

“We just have to get out of this as soon as possible,” Bernier said. “We’re stringing losses together, and we need points. Our backs are against the wall, so we have to find freshness and use guys who maybe want it more. It’s not over, but we have to turn this around quick.”

Olivier Trembaly covers the Montreal Impact for

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