With a harvest of four points out of a possible six against difficult rivals and in adverse conditions, the Montreal Impact is possibly having its best moments since the first days of the season. To keep up the pace, Thierry Henry's troop will have to play with intensity and stay true to what it is.
In a video conference on Saturday, midfielder Samuel Piette noted that this ardor for the game was felt against the Chicago Fire and the Columbus Crew, the Impact's opponents in its last two outings.
According to Piette, she was also present during the game on September 20 against the Philadelphia Union, which the Impact lost 4-1 when it had to manage with 10 players for 75 minutes after Romell's expulsion. Quioto.
"In that game, we had a lot of intensity in what we were doing, and that's what we could find in the last two games against Chicago and Columbus," Piette noted at a little over 24 hours of a second meeting in three weeks with the Union, Sunday in Philadelphia.
During the September 20 clash, it was only during the stoppage of play in the first half that the Union broke the tie by 1-1, before knocking out the Impact with a goal in the third. minute of the second half.
"Things were going well, even at ten," Henry recalled on Saturday.
“They couldn't get out, so it's not just because Romell took his red card. We controlled the game until half-time. Unfortunately, it was much more difficult in the second half for us against a team that is really good, ”he added.
For Piette, regardless of the opponent on the field, the Impact must succeed in remaining faithful to its identity.
“Whether it's Philadelphia, whether it's Columbus who was first when we faced them, whether it's DC United who is last right now, we always want to play the same way, and we're not going to change because a team is better classified or is a little stronger, ”said the midfielder.
"It's really important to look at yourself first and do what you want to do, and not always to adjust too much", he added.
Right now, it's hard to have a clear idea of what line-up Henry will send to the field against the second-ranked team in the Eastern Conference.
We already knew that Finns Lassi Lappalainen and Jukka Raitala were going to be absent. Then Henry was rather nebulous about Quioto and Saphir Taïder, both injured. From the way Henry spoke, it would be amazing to see either of those two players on the pitch on Sunday.
“The guys are here,” Henry noted. There are players who haven't trained for a while. We must try not to burn them. We play every three days. There are matches, they are coming back. It's tempting to want to put them on right away, but you shouldn't do it too early and whatever. You have to try to listen to their body, to know what they are like. "
Raitala's absence from the Finnish national team - something Lappalainen also had to do before injuring a shoulder against the Crew - means another player will wear the captain's armband.
The logical choice would be Piette, except Henry didn't confirm it, preferring to play guesswork with reporters. But whatever the choice, it's not a major concern for Piette.
“For me, it doesn't change anything at all. I am a person who gives my best for the team in every game. Armband or not. Holder or not. It's a piece of cloth. I know I'm part of the group of leaders in the team, but for me that doesn't change a thing. We are very happy with the result in Columbus; now it's a second victory. "