To get everyone ready for Atlanta United’s matchup against the Montreal Impact, we spoke with Mount Royal Soccer’s Emily Santella to get her take on Remi Garde, their playoff hopes, and Jimmy Briand.
DSS: Montreal has improved drastically in the standings since their last match against Atlanta back in April. What has Remi Garde done differently?
MRS: I wouldn’t say Remi Garde has changed much in his way of playing. The major difference is that players like Rudy Camacho, Saphir Taider and Alejandro Silva have become accustomed to the league and become pillars to the squad. Remi came in and instilled a system in the team that they weren’t used to. Obviously it took time for it to start working, and just when many fans and media began doubting his capabilities, we saw a resurgence from the Montreal squad. They’ve been playing with much more cohesion and an obvious chemistry is present between Nacho Piatti, Silva and Taider. An honorable mention goes out to Ken Krolicki. Garde placed a lot of trust in the rookie midfielder and many doubted his abilities. He’s shown in recent games why Garde gave him that chance, and while he still has his moments, he may be an important piece of the puzzle in seasons to come.
DSS: What will Montreal have to do the rest of the season to keep their playoff spot?
MRS: The most vital aspect for the Impact to remain in the position they are in right now will be to keep their playing style the same. They’ve managed to keep possession and build up plays which has helped them not only get on the board, but get control of games.
The Impact will also need to figure out how to keep their winning form while giving some key players some well deserved rest, Samuel Piette especially, but just as well Taider, Silva and Piatti. They’ve played a lot of soccer recently and fatigue will become more and more of a factor as we get closer to the end of the season.
Moreover, the addition of a more lethal striker in Jimmy Briand will be key as Matteo Mancosu, Anthony Jackson and Jeisson Vargas just haven’t been cutting it.
The final key element for the Impact to keep their position in the playoffs will be to get wins against direct opponents that are fighting for playoff points as well. Teams like Philadelphia, who’ve played less games than the Impact, could easily catch up, making it vital for them to win when they visit them in September.
DSS: Montreal just signed a new striker in Jimmy Briand earlier this week. What will he provide for the Impact and could we see him play on Saturday?
(*Editors note: After filing, the Briand deal fell apart due to last-minute demands from the player after the Impact claim an agreement was finalized.)
MRS: The logistics of the Jimmy Briand affair don’t seem to be totally figured out. It will probably be highly unlikely to see him play on Saturday. Briand, while still a little bit of a wait and see deal right now, has many hopeful. The center forwards/strikers have been the most disappointing position this season. Mancosu, Jackson and Vargas have not produced enough for any of them to have a locked position in the starting eleven. Briand, who has proven to be lethal in the final third in his last two seasons, may answer this problem for the Impact. While it will highly depend on how well he works with his teammates, Briand can produce goals in many different ways. Luckily for the Impact, Briand is one of those players that seems to integrate himself well into a team.