Impact Opens Season against the San Jose Earthquakes Saturday Night
SAN JOSE, California - The Montreal Impact will kick off its eighth season in MLS and 26th in club history, this Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes, at 10pm EST (TVA Sports, 98.5, CJAD 800), at Avaya Stadium.
"We feel good," said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. "We put in a lot of work outside of our usual environment, but the atmosphere in which the efforts were made was suitable. This game represents the final part of our preparation."
Starting on the road
In similar fashion to last season, the Bleu-blanc-noir will spend a lot of time in North American airports to kick off its 2019 campaign: eight of the club's first nine games will be played on the road. That being said, the importance of starting off on the right foot is no secret, the team's difficult start in 2018 being the reason Rémi Garde's men missed out on the postseason by just four points.
"It's important for us to start the season well and that's what we're aiming for," said midfielder Nacho Piatti. "On their end, they have a very good head coach in Almeyda. He's changed the group's mentality. But we're thinking about us and the fact that we need to have a good game. We've done a lot well up to now, so we're pretty confident going into Saturday's game."
Through all its season openers in MLS, all played away from home, the Impact has a record of two wins and five losses. Their last win dates back to 2016, when the Impact beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-2. Against the Earthquakes, the Bleu-blanc-noir was won four games at home, while also recording a draw and two losses on the road.
A promising season
During the team's 2019 training camp, the Impact played five preseason games, managing three wins and two draws, scoring seven goals and conceding just once. In year two of the Rémi Garde era at the Impact, a style of play has been clearly established and the group was reinforced this winter, most notably due to the arrivals of striker Maximiliano Urruti and midfielder Harry Novillo, additions that have already left their mark: the Argentine has two goals in preseason, while Novillo also found the back of the net.
"There are a lot of good feelings coming out of camp, and now it's important that we continue building on that going into the season," said goalkeeper Evan Bush. "When adversity does strike at one point, we have to respond in the right way, but we're feeling pretty good going into this first game."
After finishing last in the general standings in 2018, the Earthquakes added the former Chivas Guadalajara head coach, Matias Almeyda, to turn things around. The Argentine, however, didn't benefit from a particularly busy winter transfer window, adding just two undisputed starters to his squad in Cristian Espinoza, a striker on loan from Villareal, and young Peruvian defender Marcos Lopez.
After returning to Montreal for a short period of time, the Impact will be back on the road for its second game of the regular season against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, March 9 at 5pm EST at BBVA Compass Stadium (TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690). Montreal will open its season at home, at Stade Saputo, on Saturday, April 13, at 1pm against the Columbus Crew SC (TICKETS - TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690).
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