Ignacio Piatti's status uncertain for Impact in key clash vs. Columbus

MONTREAL — With three games remaining in the regular season for the Montreal Impact, midfielder Saphir Taider bluntly assessed their best hope of making the Audi 2018 MLS Cup playoffs.

"It's better to feel like you do not have a choice and win all three games," Taider said before practice Thursday.

The Impact (12-15-4) have a tenuous hold on sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 40 points following a 5-0 loss against D.C. United on Saturday.

D.C. United closed to within two points of Montreal and have played two fewer games.

“I think before speaking about the last two [games], the next one is of course obviously the most important,” Impact coach Remi Garde said. “And without winning that game we would be in a very, very bad position, probably – I don’t know the result of the other games. But we have to focus on what we need to win that game.”

Ignacio Piatti sustained a thigh injury during the second half against United and it’s unclear if he will be able to play when Montreal hosts the fourth-place Columbus Crew SC at Stade Saputo on Saturday (3 pm ET | TVAS, TSN1/4 - Full TV & Streaming Info).

“He didn’t practice this week, but it's better," Garde said. “We will give ourselves until the last moment to hope for his participation. There is uncertainty, but he is, as always, very motivated to play. So, there is hope."

While the Impact hope their leading scorer will take the field Saturday, they say they have turned the page on the crushing loss last week.

"We’ve thought about it every day,” Taider said. “It would be a lie to say that we have forgotten, but we have to put it behind us and focus on the next game. We have no choice, we have to win this weekend to make the playoffs.”

And Garde is encouraged by the Impact’s play in the second half of the season, which has demonstrated their ability to bounce back from a tough position.

“I think if you look at our season, the second half of the season we had, for me, two bad games, in Toronto and in D.C.,” Garde said. “But I think it was not 90 minutes of bad football from our side. I think two times it was only 45 minutes. If you look at the games. In D.C. our first half was very decent, you know, we could have been back to the locker room in 1-1, nobody would have said it’s not deserved. And in Toronto it was the same, at 3-1 we had many, many chances to come back.

“Then I think our second part of the season is much better than the first one. We had two bad times 45 minutes, which hurts a lot, and now we are in a position that we have to come back from that.”