MONTREAL – Montreal Impact head coach Frank Klopas said Saturday’s game against the Columbus Crew was lost in midfield.
Team captain – and central midfielder – Patrice Bernier conceded on Tuesday morning that there were gaps in the middle for Bernardo Anor to exploit. Anor duly did, scoring two goals in the 2-1 Columbus victory at Crew Stadium. But for Bernier, it all goes back to Montreal’s collective play.
What matters, Bernier believes, is to stay alert, for Montreal seem to pay the price for every single mistake they make.
“That was probably not the case last year or in 2012,” Bernier told reporters on Tuesday. “This year, there might be more bad luck. They put those two shots on frame, and they score two superb goals. Another game, or another season, they might have gone over the bar or been deflected or blocked. We just have to make sure to not give any small, even slim, opportunity.”
In other terms, even if grinding out results is not the Montreal Impact way, it’s time to do just that with a nine-point deficit on a playoff spot.
“It means that, if you’re a technical player, you need to provide something that’s not necessarily in you, so that the guy who actually may be like a bulldozer says to himself, ‘This other guy gives me that effort; I can give back even more of an effort to the team,’” Bernier said. “We’re all going to help each other out, moving forward, to victory and better days.”
While Bernier was not specifically disagreeing with Klopas, he also warned against over-analysis.
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Early this season, Bernier recalled, some observers said defense was the issue for Montreal. He also could have added that others said the team’s issue was who would help out Marco Di Vaio up front. Now, the midfield has been singled out.
“In the end, it’s collectively that we need to be really, really strong mentally and physically,” Bernier said. “For 90 minutes and more. … I could say everything about the three aspects of our team – attack, midfield, defense – it’s easy to overanalyze. I feel like, collectively, we have to stay solid and not give anything away.”