Impact go for fourth win in a row against Rapids

Suddenly, the Montreal Impact are on a roll.

After losing four straight (all by shutout) in May, the Impact have now won three in a row — and four of their last five — and kept their opponents off the scoresheet in each match. They’ll look to extend that when they host the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night at Saputo Stadium.

Montreal (7-11-0) is feeling especially confident after its most recent win, holding off powerhouse Sporting Kansas City. It has been quite the turnaround for a team that for the first few months of the season couldn’t keep the ball out of its own net.

Heading into its match on May 21, the Impact languished at the bottom of the MLS’ defensive standings with 26 goals conceded. In the seven games since (including that one), they’ve allowed just five goals.

“We weren’t in the same place before, when things weren’t going well, as we are now,” defender Rudy Camacho told the team’s website. “It was a little complicated and there was a lack of confidence. Little by little, we worked very hard. It wasn’t easy, but we managed to find a good team block that stays compact and solid, and we work for each other more now.”

Camacho and fellow Frenchman Rod Fanni have been key in the team’s defensive resurgence. Limited to a handful of minutes playing together because of respective injuries, the two were reunited at the start of June.

“His arrival brought a lot to the team. He’s a true professional,” coach Remi Garde told La Presse of the 36-year-old, whose contract was extended earlier this week through the remainder of the 2018 season, with an option for 2019. “I’ve said it many times, a lengthy career (like his) doesn’t come without mastering every aspect of the profession, from training to games to the unseen preparation.”

The Rapids are hoping for a similar rebound as they kick off the second half of their season. Riding a two-game winning streak and three-game unbeaten streak — which was preceded by an eight-game slide — Colorado (4-10-3) emerged on the wrong end of a 2-1 final against the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday.

With the loss, the Rapids now find themselves tied for 10th with the Sounders and are eight points back of the playoff cutoff line.

“A couple mistakes killed us. It’s just one of those games where everything went really far away, but at the end of the day we didn’t do enough to get a couple goals back,” Rapids midfielder Sam Nicholson, who scored the lone goal, told reporters after the game.

Wednesday’s match was the second in a stretch of three in six days, which has taken the Rapids from Vancouver, British Columbia, to their home pitch to Montreal. After Saturday’s tilt, they’ll return to a more regular one-a-week schedule for the next month.

“You can’t sit and dwell on a game, you won’t get anything out of it,” Nicholson said. “We’ve shown a professional attitude the last three games where we got something out of games that we needed to. This week’s going to be similar; we’re going to try to get something out of it.

“The quick turnaround is going to help us. We’re looking forward to that.”