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Browne to Boost Shot-shy Impact?

He might, ... should his papers process in time ...

MLS: Champions League-CAI at Toronto FC
Impact hoping that Omar Browne (left), seen here in Champions League action v Toronto FC, will be available to face the Revs.
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Consistently inconsistent. That’s the Impact!

Or are they? Each time they’ve performed poorly this season, they’ve bounced back with something gutsy and a little more encouraging. So maybe not that inconsistent after all. But still, it would be nice not to suffer the SKC’s, the Philadelphia Unions and to a much lesser extent the disappointment in Houston.

So, that suggests Remi Garde’s charges are due a better display in Foxboro, Wednesday night, even if the form-book cautions strongly against too many goals being scored. Impact have 1 in their last four away and haven’t scored in their last 395 Gillette Stadium minutes, Revs have notched only 3 goals in their last five at home!

Interestingly Wednesday’s venue is where Montreal last won an away fixture without Piatti in the side, 5.5 years and 47 attempts ago. No time like the present ...

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Montreal Impact
“Stringing road games is not easy, but we have to adapt.” Remi Garde.
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been traditionally difficult watching IMFC in road games, particularly so whenever Piatti is absent. Thankfully my years watching little Northern Ireland toil in away matches at international level, means it remains within a comfort zone I’d be quite happy to forsake.

Disappointingly Piatti looks set to miss out yet again with a knee injury - picked up in a two-goal display in Orlando - which must be of greater concern than at first suspected.

Encouragement, and optimism, for Impact fans comes in the shape of Omar Browne, the recent signing from Club Independiente (Panama). The attacking midfielder, popular already in Quebec for his two goals against Toronto FC in Champions League play, may make his debut against New England, paperwork permitting.

Should he make the squad, Remi Garde will be hoping Browne provides some forward impetus for his side, which has lacked creativity and goals lately. A new player can often rejuvenate a side, and while Browne remains largely an unknown quantity, it’s hoped he can help lift a side that looked jaded and flat during Saturday’s 0-3 drubbing in Philly.

Considering it was their seventh road game in the opening 8 fixtures, perhaps that fatigue is not so alarming, but again it is a factor they must deal with head on in New England.

“It’s a situation that we’ve known from the beginning, so we try to adapt,” Garde said. “But I’ll repeat: stringing road games is still not as easy as when we play at home from time to time. We can, after a game on the road, confirm a good result and good work before heading back on the road. Now we really are in a difficult stint.”

“The last game was not up to par with what we wanted, but if we review what we’ve done up until now, it isn’t negative,” said the French coach. “Especially with the next two games, we have the opportunity to make it even more positive, because in the end we are only three points away from first place.”

MLS: Montreal Impact at Philadelphia Union
Daniel Lovitz slides in to take the ball from Union’s Fafa Picault, last Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Things have not gone so smoothly for Brad Friedel’s team either. After a promising start to his managerial tenure in 2018, the Revs fell away badly as the season got into full swing. The early promise included a 4-0 success over Montreal at Gillette Stadium, but as the Impact improved, ascending the Eastern Conference, they passed the slowing Revs on their way down.

This season has been difficult too, with a 2-5-1 return from the opening games. A deserved, but scrappy, single goal success over the Red Bulls at the weekend gave them their second win and 7th point - they had previously defeated Minnesota, 2-1.

It was a first shut-out for the Revs in 2019, and in claiming the solitary goal Cristian Penilla became the first NE attacker to find the net too. Spaniard, Carles Gil, an attacking midfielder with La Liga and English Premier League experience behind him, has been shouldering most of the goalscoring responsibility. Gil has registered three times to date, including a debut goal at Dallas in March after arriving from Deportivo La Coruna, in a club-record, $2m deal.

The element of surprise around the Revs new DP may be subdued however. Gil is a player known to Remi Garde, having been on the books of Aston Villa during the Impact coach’s spell in charge of the English club.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at New England Revolution
New DP and New England’s creator-in-chief, Carles Gil.
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

In a tight Eastern Conference, Impact lies sixth, only three points off the summit, while New England are tenth, four points behind the Bleu/Blanc/Noir.

It’s a game that Impact would have targeted at the beginning of the season as one where a road point, or three, could be harvested. However the continuing absence of Piatti, and the failure to even score on their last four visits to New England doesn’t bode well.

The hope is for a more enterprising game from both these teams. I won’t be holding my breath for it to happen, although that won’t concern the men from Montreal should they return north with something in the bag, to build momentum for the visit of Chicago on Sunday.


Line-Ups (projected) -

Revs - Cropper - Farrell, Mancienne, Anibaba, Castillo - Caicedo, Agudelo, Caldwell, Gil - Fagundez, Bunbury.

IMFC - Bush - Sagna, Raitala, Diallo, Lovitz - Piette, Azira, Taider, Novillo - Okwonkwo, Urruti

Officials - Unknown at time of publication.