The Impact is facing another extended run without designated player Ignacio Piatti.Piatti, who missed 10 game this season with a right knee injury, is back on the sidelines with another injury to the same knee. And, while the first injury was one of those day-to-day ailments that eventually sidelined him for two months, there is a definite time line on the latest injury. He has a strained MCL, which will keep him out of action for eight to 12 weeks.“It’s a blow for the team but, first of all, for Nacho himself,” said head coach Rémi Garde as he prepared for Saturday’s home game against Orlando City FC (5 p.m., TSN3, TSN5, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio). “I know he was so hurt by the first injury and the second is much more difficult for him to digest. My first thoughts are for him. After that, on the team side, we have to continue … to adapt to the situation because Nacho has been away from the team for a while now. We have to find a solution from within the team until the market opens and we see what happens.”
Montreal Impact’s Ignacio Piatti (10) is challenged by New England Revolution’s Tajon Buchanan during second half in Montreal on May 18, 2019.
Graham Hughes /
THE CANADIAN PRESS
The next transfer window in MLS opens on July 9 and there are a number of factors that will go into the decision on whether to pursue another marquee player. There will be an assessment of Piatti’s rehabilitation program and the likelihood of an early return. The team’s record will be taken into account. Saturday’s game marks the halfway point in the Impact’s season and the team is in third place in the Eastern Conference. The Impact and has a 5-4-2 record in games without Piatti in the lineup and most of those games have been on the road.Another important factor my be financial. The team has been losing millions of dollars each year and the attendance this season has been disappointing despite a winning record. There were only 11,966 fans at Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake and the Impact is in the bottom half of MLS in terms of average attendance with fewer than 16,000 fans a game.Garde said he is pleased that his team has been able to forge a winning record without Piatti, but he noted that it was difficult for a team to remain near the top of the standings without one or two technical leaders.Players who will be asked to pick up the slack include Maxi Urruti, Orji Okwonkwo, homegrown forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel and versatile Panamanian Omar Browne.Related
Browne, who joined the Impact in May, scored his second goal of the season in Wednesday’s win over Salt Lake. Garde said he’s happy with the newcomer’s progress, but said there’s room for improvement. Garde noted that there is a language problem because Browne speaks only Spanish, but that hasn’t hampered his ability to communicate on the pitch. He has developed chemistry with Shamit Shome and Bacary Sagna, who both assisted on his goal Wednesday.“He’s a technical player who understands football and he’ll play wherever you need him to play,” said Sagna. “He respects the game.”The Impact beat Orlando City 3-1 in Florida on March 16. Piatti scored two goals in that game, but also suffered his first knee injury. The game was a chippy affair and ended with a melee on the pitch that resulted in Zakaria Diallo being handed a red card for pushing Orlando’s Dom Dwyer in the face.Orlando City has lost four of its last five games, but Garde said the visitors will have a bit of an advantage because they didn’t play a mid-week game and should be physically and mentally firstname.lastname@example.org/zababes1