Impact confidence rising on win streak: "We can compete against everybody"

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Impact are moving closer and closer to getting above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference standings, but they are wary of getting ahead of themselves in talking about making a run in the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Montreal rode Ignacio Piatti's brace and Matteo Mancosu's first goal in over two months in the first half to a 3-0 win over the Chicago Fire at Stade Saputo on Wednesday night.

The Impact's third straight win gave them 33 points, two behind Columbus and Atlanta. Montreal captain Patrice Bernier cautioned about reading too much into the team's recent run, which follows on the heels of consecutive losses, including 4-0 at the New York Red Bulls on July 29.

"I don't want to talk about playoffs," Bernier said. "We're not over the [playoff] line yet, so once we get there we can talk. But this is a great game, but we took 4-0 not too long ago and this league tends to humble you. So now we have to think of the next game. The playoffs is a big word and we're not yet there."

Midfielder Blerim Dzemaili set up Piatti's highlight reel second goal that gave Montreal a three-goal lead 38 minutes in, moments after Mancosu scored on a penalty kick.

Dzemaili joined the Impact from Bologna in May and has formed a productive bond with Piatti, who deferred to Mancosu for the penalty kick in a bid to get the striker his first goal in nine games. The Swiss international is optimistic about the Impact's prospects this season.

"When I came here we were last and the team knows now that we can do a lot," Dzemaili said. "The last three games showed that we can compete against everybody and that we can do well against everybody. And I think we need to keep on going on this street because as I said to the team before the game we cannot make any mistakes any more because nobody's waiting for us, and now that we didn't make the mistake we have to look in front and we have to look the next game against Salt Lake. We need again three points and hopefully we're going to be in the playoff spots after next game."

Impact coach Mauro Biello said he wants his team to be able to sit low and counter, and at the same time be able to unbalance their opponents. But in looking at the big picture, his focus is getting to the playoffs, not yet looking at the possibilities beyond that.

"We're going to focus on trying to get in the playoffs," Biello said. "Right now, we're below the [playoff] line. This was a game in hand that we shortened the gap between us and the teams tonight because we were the only two teams playing. We still have work ahead of us.

"We have important games against difficult teams coming up, and right now we're focused on these games that we have in front of us, and then we'll see where we are in the standings."