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Soccer Impact head to New York looking to extend winning streak to 5 games

The Montreal Impact may be riding a four-game winning streak, but head coach Rémi Garde isn’t ruling out roster changes now that the Major League Soccer summer-transfer window is open.

Even with Montreal’s recent resurgence in the standings, Garde says he still wants to add a few key players to the team. The sixth-place Impact are aiming for five wins in a row when they take on New York City FC at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.

The month-long transfer window opened on Tuesday and closes on Aug. 8.

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“I won’t say too much on transfers, but the team is working on it,” Garde said before training on Monday. “I’ve identified where we need improving. I would like to balance this team more between the three lines – defence, midfield and offence. Right now, we’re a little short on midfield players.”

The first-year coach has been outspoken this season about the team’s dire need for reinforcements. The former Lyon manager has repeatedly bemoaned Montreal’s lack of talent and depth.

Garde’s men were last in the Eastern Conference six weeks ago with a 3-10-0 record before winning five of their past six. He says the reversal of fortune this summer does not alter his plan to add more players to the roster.

“We had already identified where we needed to make improvements before this winning streak,” he said. “We haven’t really changed anything based on these last few games.

“We’re ready to integrate players if we have to.”

Fresh legs could be exactly what the Impact (8-11-0) need as they prepare to play six games in 17 days, starting with New York City (10-4-4) on Wednesday. Two of those matches are against the Vancouver Whitecaps – a two-legged aggregate series in the Canadian Championship.

Finnish defender Jukka Raitala, one of this year’s off-season additions, is ready to embrace potential new teammates.

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“There were a lot of new players this year, including me, and a whole new coaching staff, but if some new players will come, it will be good,” he said. “We are now in a very good moment, but we can’t just be happy and stop working. This month is very important and I hope we can keep taking points like we’ve done lately.”

Raitala will make his second consecutive start in central defence alongside veteran Rod Fanni. Defender Rudy Camacho is dealing with a calf injury and will not be in the lineup.

Impact midfielder Ignacio Piatti says the goal on Wednesday is to earn at least a point at Yankee Stadium, one of the more difficult venues to play in. NYCFC are 8-0-1 at home this season, outscoring opponents 22-4 in the process.

Montreal is 1-2-2 all-time on the road in New York.

“They close down spaces very quickly on defence, and they have some good offensive-minded players,” said Piatti, who leads the team with nine goals this season. “New York City is a good team. It’s very difficult to play there. But we’re not changing our strategy.”

NYCFC, second in the Eastern Confencer behind Atlanta United, is coming off a 1-0 derby victory over the New York Red Bulls on Sunday thanks to a late goal by Argentina’s Maximiliano Moralez.

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“We’re going there to get some points to keep climbing in the standings,” Piatti added. “This whole team is feeling confident. We can’t slow down. We have to keep doing what we’re doing and reach the playoffs. We want to go to New York at get a point.”

MONTREAL (8-11-0) AT NEW YORK CITY FC (10-4-4)

Wednesday, Yankee Stadium

GOING STREAKING – Montreal is looking for just its second five-game winning streak in franchise history (regular season). The Impact won five straight in its inaugural season in MLS in 2012.

MIXED RESULTS – NYCFC has lost three times in its past seven games in all competitions, including a 4-0 defeat to the Red Bulls in the U.S. Open Cup.

NEW COACH – Patrick Vieira left New York to join France’s OGC Nice last month. New coach Domènec Torrent is 2-1-0 since joining the club.

STAYING PUT – When asked if he would still be with the Impact by the end of the summer-transfer window, Piatti said: “Yes, I still have two years on my contract.”

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PLAYOFF POSITION – The Impact jumped above the playoff line last week with a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids. It’s only the second time this season they’re in a playoff position.

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