MONTREAL – Seven games into the Remi Garde era, the Montreal Impact find themselves averaging less than a point per game, on a three-game losing streak – suffering two early red cards in those three matches – and tied for the most goals conceded in the league.
The Impact have posted two clean sheets in their two wins, both of them in 1-0 victories, and lost their other five matches, conceding 17 goals. No goalkeeper in MLS has had to make more saves (39), faced more shots (56) or carries a higher goals-against average than Montreal's Evan Bush.
Even with Ignacio Piatti posting his first MLS hat trick to stake the Impact to a 3-1 lead, the story was the same in Saturday’s home opener at Stade Saputo, Montreal conceding four second-half goals to LAFC in a 5-3 loss.
“I just looked at the stats and we had 19 shots on goal against us today, that’s crazy,” Bush said after making 14 saves, including a penalty kick, in a losing cause. “That’s 29 shots on goal in the last two games – that’s crazier.”
Led by Piatti, the Impact raced out to a 2-0 lead on Saturday, and still took a 3-1 lead into halftime despite a 31st-minute penalty kick and red card to Victor Cabrera for a collision with Marco Ureña, Bush making a diving stop on Ureña’s penalty kick.
“We conceded too many goals, too many chances,” Garde said postgame. “We conceded four goals in the second half, but it could've easily been six or seven. I’m not happy at all about the way we managed the second half because when you have the chance to lead 3-1 at halftime and if you are playing 10 men, you should be more determined to protect your goal and sometimes to attack.
“I mean there are not too many tactical situations in this occasion. It’s more about your pride, about the fight you want to put in the game to win. And I think in the second half I didn’t see a team that wanted to preserve the score and maybe to score one more.”
Montreal’s losing streak began with a 4-0 loss at the New England Revolution on April 6, when Saphir Taider was sent off 14 minutes in for a dangerous challenge on Luis Caicedo. Midfielder Samuel Piette said an “attitude problem” might explain the Impact’s struggles when they are down a man.
“We came out in the second half, we knew we wanted to do good things, like be compact and work hard, but these are only words,” Piette said. “You’ve got to apply that on the pitch. As well, the goals we concede are too easy. It’s a lack of marking in the box.
“I remember the first goal of the second half the ball came through my legs and there were two or three guys open in the box. So we have to be more aggressive on that. Set pieces as well. We conceded again on set pieces so there are different type of goals that we need to be careful next time.”