Ignacio Piatti - tugged back - vs Houston
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Despite scoring drought, Remi Garde is not worried about Ignacio Piatti

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Impact's recent offensive struggles become easier to understand in the context of Ignacio Piatti's silence on the scoresheet.

Montreal ended a four-game stretch without a goal with a 1-0 win against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, but Piatti was held without a goal or assist for a fifth consecutive game.

“About Nacho, I think that the previous weeks have been difficult, some of them in terms of physical demands,” Impact coach Remi Garde said before practice at Centre Nutrilait on Tuesday. “I spoke with him about that and then we tried to adjust on training session. And then he had to cope with a personal situation that was not very comfortable for him.”

Piatti had one goal and three assists in Montreal’s previous win, 4-2 against New England on May 5. Four straight shutout losses followed before Jeisson Vargas scored against Houston to end the Impact’s goalless streak.

Though Piatti failed to score Saturday, he put a drive off the crossbar 20 minutes in, and Garde credited the Argentinian Designated Player’s overall contributions for the result.

"I was very happy about the last game because his personal investment to the team allowed us to win that game,” Garde said. “He didn’t score a goal, he didn’t make an assist, but he threatened always the opponents and he worked very hard for the team to make sure that we can win that game.”

Piatti has suffered fouls at a career-high rate of 2.42 per 90 minutes this season, up from 2.24 last year and 2.11 in 2016. But he didn’t get a late call that would have given him a rare penalty opportunity and a chance to give Montreal an insurance goal.

“Yeah, I don’t know but you know I watch this action and obviously the defender pulled his shirt twice very strong,” Garde said. “And I don’t know if the ref was waiting that Nacho fall down, you know, if we have to fall down or is it a foul that deserves a penalty when you pull the shirt of your opponent in the box. This is the question.”

Garde did not buy a reporter’s suggestion that it might be necessary to go to ground to draw the call.

“Sometimes when you fall down you get a red card because the ref is not on the same page,” Garde said. “I think Nacho is an honest player and when he stays up it’s because he thinks that he can go through. But then it’s up to the ref’s decision to see that the shirt has been pulled.”

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