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Play-off Countdown - Quioto: “We need to have heart, passion and desire.”

The Honduran carries the hopes of a city into Montreal’s first play-off game for fours years.

Montreal Impact v D.C. United
Keep smiling. Let’s hope Romell Quioto is doing just that come the conclusion of matters in New England tomorrow evening.

Romell Quioto met the media after training, Wednesday, well wrapped up in a heavy winter coat. At least by 6.30 tomorrow evening as the teams kick-off in New England he’ll be experiencing a balmy 11C.

Acknowledging the difficulties the Impact has had against New England this season, Quioto suggested that Impact can prevail in tomorrow evening’s play-in round, but only if they perform at their very best.

“The group is very aware there has been a lot of games against New England this season, in most of them the rival was better. They are a very difficult team to face, one that battles for 90 minutes and we will have to play a very intelligent match, a full 90 minutes with passion and heart to get a good result in Foxboro.”

The 29-year-old Honduran international knows a thing or two about knock-out football having been part of the Houston Dynamo team that went on an ultimately successful US Open Cup run just two years ago. He’s even got form, scoring twice against Sporting Kansas City in the quarter-final and seeing his shot deflected in for a goal in the final against Philadelphia Union.

Quioto also feels there is a difference about tomorrow evening’s meeting however, and not only because it’s play-off rather than regular season football.

The fact that he and his team-mates have been able to get a full week’s training in at Centre Nutrilait in preparation has been morale-boosting for the squad.

“It’s very important to be able to train at home. Obviously, the state of mind is very different, it takes some stress away from the preparation and I am convinced that it will appear in our duel on Friday,” said Quioto.

But he’s quick to point out that without matching New England’s will to win, the Impact will struggle. “Desire is key to win matches and we have shown as a group in the games we’ve won that was the case. This Friday cannot be an exception to that rule.”

Quioto, mountroyalsoccer.com’s Impact MVP for 2020, is key to success for the Impact against New England. He brings something extra and has match-winning capabilities. When on his game he’s a very difficult player to defend against as noted by coach Thierry Henry.

“Against D.C., he had opportunities in the first half that he didn’t put in the back of the net, but he came back and scored. He stretched them, he won balls, and he made them run.

“He’s been so important for us this year. The moments during the season when he wasn’t at his best, we suffered... because he wasn’t stretching teams deep like he usually does. But when Romell is on, like he was during our last game, he’s very difficult to defend against.”

Philadelphia Union v Montreal Impact
Thierry Henry congratulates Romell Quioto on opening the scoring against Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena earlier this season. The coach states, “Romell has ben so important for us this year.”
Photo by Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images

There were no signs of over-confidence from the coach as he spoke with the media this afternoon. Asked if he felt confident about his game-plan to defeat the Revs tomorrow evening, he was cautious in response.

“You can never tell. But we have to try to find a solution to beat them. People have asked me about them having all of their DP’s. We have lost to them when they had some of their DP’s missing. But it doesn’t mean anything.

“It’s going to be a different game, it’s going to be a tough game, great coach, great team with MLS experience. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing is set in stone, you know it’s going to be a different topic tomorrow and let’s see what we can do.

“I expect nothing less than what they usually do. They will be aggressive, but in the right way, so we have to be ready for that.”

Veteran defender Rod Fanni, now only 9 games short of his 450th first-class competitive appearance, didn’t make light of the missing midfield components and instead preferred to talk about how well and thorough the Impact’s preparations have been.

“We’ve prepared very, very well, and we’ve analyzed a lot what we didn’t do well in the games against them, and we know if we lose tomorrow, it’s not because of them it’s because of ourselves... because we have corrected things and now we really feel comfortable and confident for the game tomorrow and I think you will see that clearly.”

CD Olimpia v Montreal Impact: Quarterfinals - Leg 1 - 2020 CONCACAF Champions League
Veteran defender Rod Fanni says preparations have been good for this one.
Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images