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A Satisfying Night for Garde, A Sleepless One for Almeyda.

San Jose v Montreal Impact - Post-Match Reaction …

MLS: Montreal Impact at San Jose Earthquakes
Remi Garde in business-like prose. “We didn’t panic.”
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The eagerly anticipated debut of new San Jose Earthquakes coach Matias Almeyda was ruined by Montreal Impact’s resolute performance on Saturday evening, leaving the Argentine with the prospect of a restless night …

“I don’t like to lose. Today I’m not going to be able to sleep, I’m going to watch the game three or four times,” said Almeyda.“There are details we must improve on. The day that the opponent dribbles past five of our players and scores I will congratulate him. Now if one of our players isn’t where he is supposed to be, then we have to correct that error.”

MLS: Montreal Impact at San Jose Earthquakes
Sleepless in San Jose - Matias Almeyda.
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

In contrast, the noise coming from the Impact camp was more upbeat and positive after winning on MLS Opening Day for the third time in club history.

°We didn’t panic, and we were able to tie the game,” explained head coach Rémi Garde.“When you’re behind away from home, being able to come back and regain the lead shows a lot of character. This game would’ve been over had Saphir scored on that third opportunity, but we were able to hold on until the very end thanks to this group’s team spirit.”

“We didn’t control everything tonight, especially in the second half, but this is a victory for which the group truly worked hard.”

Garde also joked of the contribution of one of his new signings.

”I confirm that he has only two lungs,” he said talking of Maxi Urruti’s energetic display. “On the other hand, he has a fantastic mentality and state of mind. That’s what I guessed about the videos when asked if I was interested. Immediately I saw the kind of player he was. I do not know if he has two lungs, but I know he has two hearts on the field and that’s very important.”

Referring further to newfound attacking options now available, Impact’s French coach went on …

”Nacho is not necessarily in the spotlight, but collectively, he is very important. He will still be the player who will make the difference. But I’m happy to know that this year there will be other offensive opportunities to score. Maxi is not a great speaker, but what he does on the field is fantastic. I think at some point he will take over from Nacho for goals. “

MLS: Montreal Impact at San Jose Earthquakes
He didn’t get on the scoresheet, but new striker Maxi Urruti was the subject of much praise from his coach and team-mates alike for his performance.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Samuel Piette shared his coach’s views on the new Argentine striker …

”I was impressed by Maxi. He is our striker, but he was also our best defender. He did a colossal job. It was super important to defend as much as to run all the balls when playing in their backs. It’s very tiring to play against him. “

Another debutant and creator of the winning goal, Zakaria Diallo was relieved to get the win …

”It’s been a month and a half we’ve been suffering together. The state of mind is exceptional. So that victory is good,” insisted the French centre-back. ”We announced to future opponents that we will be difficult to beat, even on the road.”

Garde seemed happy with the second-half rearguard action, but relieved to get three valuable road points in the bag …

”We could not wait for the match to end. It’s our tactics to be deep, compact, and let them play.”

Almeyda, his counterpart, despite obvious agitation at the manner in which goals were conceded, did find some encouragement from his own team’s display …

“I take away a lot of positives from this game, especially the attitude and collective play. We had possession of the ball a lot in the second half, and during the first half it was 50 percent or so. This shows a team that wants to compete, one that will not be left behind depending on an individual. Instead, it’s a team that is going to play like a team.”

Although Almeyda’s team captain clearly thinks there’s plenty of time to get things right. Wondolowski said …

“It’s going to be a process. We want to be peaking in 30 weeks and hitting our stride then. We want to make sure we start playing well and eliminating our mistakes because we do feel that we have a great team that can be very dangerous.”

Someone might want to tell the former US striker that 30 weeks of the season to hit form might just be a little late.

MLS: Montreal Impact at San Jose Earthquakes
Wondo - Thirty weeks to hit peak form might be a little late!
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Piette was quick to acknowledge just how difficult the game was to play in, and was quick to highlight the satisfaction felt after a gruelling pre-season spent away from home …

”It was a very difficult game to play in with their man-to-man tactics. Hard to take the ball well and control the game, there was always someone on you. It was very difficult to find spaces, which was the key to having brilliant moments on an individual level. That’s what made the difference.”

“It’s crucial for us to start with three points on the road. It’s really huge, but the win was especially important to confirm everything we’ve done in preseason; the good performances, the physical and tactical work. I think it was important for the team’s confidence to start the season, and it was the perfect result.”

It’s been a trying time for Zakaria Diallo in Montreal, snapping an achilles tendon during 2018 pre-season and having to wait a full year before making his competitive debut. But he was to make a telling contribution on the night, in attack, as well as in defence.

“I had space in front of me,” said Diallo, describing the Impact’s winning goal.“We had possession on the wing, and I noticed San Jose really low on the field. I asked for the ball and ran forward. Saphir made an excellent run as well, which makes it easier. With a bit of luck, I got him the ball and he put it in.”

A quite modest description by Diallo of the delightful ball he played into Taider, whose controlled finish proved to be the winning goal on the stroke of half-time.

MLS: Montreal Impact at San Jose Earthquakes
Healthy again, Zakaria Diallo takes care of the threat posed by Cristian Espinoza.
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

And on the health of his achiiles upon completion of his first competitive game in well over a year …

”It feels really good. I came back and today it is a reward for my work and all that I accomplished. I’m proud of myself and I hope this is just the beginning. “

All of Montreal will echo that.