MONTREAL – Through the first eight matches of the 2018 season, the Montreal Impact conceded 21 goals. That pace would have had them concede by far the most goals in MLS history over a 34-game season. However, there seems to be a shift going on under new head coach Remi Garde.
The Impact have conceded just 10 goals over their last 10 matches and the improved defense has started to lead to results as Montreal have won four of their past five matches. The last three of their wins have come with the team posting a clean sheet.
“It’s important,” Montreal coach Remi Garde said. “It means that the way I want the team to play, the spirit I want to put inside the team for the players, it means that we are maybe not exactly both on the same line now, but we understand better what I want and probably I know them better.
“It’s always a question of time. We are living in a world, and especially in football where you don’t have too much time. But there are things that need time, then it was one. And I’m happy that players have adapted their mentality, adapt the way we stick all together now when we are playing a game. I’m really happy about that.”
Montreal extended their season-high winning streak to three games with a 2-0 win over Sporting Kansas City after consecutive shutout wins against Orlando City SC helped put the Impact back in the playoff conversation in the Eastern Conference.
“I think the most important is confidence and work, because we work a lot with the coach,” Impact center back Rod Fanni said. “We have to respect also the system, all this advice because when we respect that and we work a lot we have a good team. But when we start to play, each player plays his football, no chance to win or to have success. I think the success is to be humble first and after that work, and everything will be OK.
“Day by day, if we respect that, the confidence will come easily because win after win, we have confidence, it’s logical like that.”
Veteran Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush has six clean sheets to his credit. He noted the work of Garde and his staff in adapting to MLS while staying faithful to the approach they honed at Olympique Lyonnais.
“They’ve had to adjust a bit with the demands of this league, whether it’s the level of the quality or the travel demands or the weather conditions,” Bush said. “There are so many things in this league that the European or South American guys come in and it takes them a while to figure out. I think in particular in the last three or four weeks they’ve really adjusted well to understanding the personnel requirements in the games.”