MONTREAL—A player’s premature walk to the locker room has become a sight all too familiar for Montreal Impact supporters.
Victor Cabrera started the trend with two yellows in 9 minutes of Montreal’s 2-0 loss at Vancouver on August 26, the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship final. Ciman followed with two cautions of his own at Toronto FC in a 2-1 loss.
Players kept their cool during the ensuing two games, but it has unraveled since;
Not only did Ciman get booked twice on Wednesday, but Andres Romero also picked-up a suspension-inducing yellow – for pulling off his jersey while celebrating the game-winning goal. Both players are unavailable when D.C. United visit Stade Saputo on Saturday (5 pm ET; TSN2 in Canada, MLS LIVE in US).
“I’ll address discipline until something changes,” said interim head coach Mauro Biello on Friday. “Sometimes, things don’t change straightaway. But they have to understand that the team comes first and that you must manage those moments.
"I know there are emotions, and you have to manage them. But still, we have to improve on that, fix that, and the only way to do so is to keep talking about it and explaining that you have to be calm when calm is needed, and to be intense when intensity is needed.”
When Biello can take tangible action, he does. Defender Hassoun Camara said the players walked into the locker room on Friday to find notifications on their disciplinary status, along with a list of players that have been cautioned.
“It’s something we have to be careful with because it can be an important factor in this race to the playoffs,” Camara said. “Every parameter is important. It’s up to us to stay focused, to be as efficient as possible and to keep every player on the field on Saturday.”
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While D.C. are shooting for their first win since August 8 – a 1-0 success in Montreal – the Impact could remain undefeated under Biello (five games thus far). Yet they’ll also be without Justin Mapp, still day-to-day with a toe injury, and Calum Mallace, who may face two weeks on the sidelines following a left foot injury picked up in Saturday's 3-0 win over New England. Ignacio Piatti remains in Argentina. His father’s health has improved, but he’ll miss a second straight game.
Biello argued that the Impact has been “in a similar situation” of late, and he has a point, having called upon 23 players in his five games. Sometimes by choice, sometimes not, but the team has grabbed 11 out of 15 points for him.
“The message has been the same from the beginning: everybody's important and is going to have to contribute to the success of this team,” Biello said. “It's about being ready when you’re called upon. Whoever fills in tomorrow is going to come up and have a performance like the others.”