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After being eliminated from the Canadian Championship and then seeing a deal for striker Jimmy Briand fall through, the Montreal Impact end the week having to face the first-place team in Major League Soccer.

The Impact (9-12-1) take on Atlanta United (13-4-5) on Saturday at Saputo Stadium, looking to keep up their 6-2-1 form in league play since June 2.

It will end a string of seven matches in a 22-day span, which included their 2-1 aggregate loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps in Voyageurs Cup play.

“It’ll be a tough match, especially with the fatigue that comes from playing 72 games in a month,” midfielder Samuel Piette said with some exaggeration. “But it’s the last match of that long run.

“It’s the best time to bounce back. If we get a good result against Atlanta it would be very good. We’ve been doing well in MLS. Now we have no choice but to focus on the league.”

The Impact arrived home from a two-game West Coast trip — an impressive draw in Portland followed by a 2-0 cup loss in Vancouver — to bad news.

A deal to land Briand that the Impact said on Twitter was imminent collapsed at the last minute on Thursday when the French striker asked for add-ons to the deal and was refused.

It had seemed to be a done deal. Briand’s Ligue-1 club Guingamp announced last week he was headed to Montreal and wished him luck.

And fifth-place Montreal clearly needed a proven striker to boost an attack that has scored only 28 times in 22 games. Their regular centre-forward Matteo Mancosu has only two goals this season, while back-up Anthony Jackson-Hamel is injured.

Briand, who turns 33 next week, had played in Lyon for Impact coach Rémi Garde, who was disappointed that the deal fell through but was ready to move on.

“I think that I would like sometimes that my team would be more efficient in the box but then we know we have proven in the last weeks that we have a good team, a team that can win games,” he said. “Then the balance of the team is also important.

“It’s sometimes difficult or it takes time to create chemistry inside a group and sometimes good chemistry can give you better results than putting better players alongside each other. The target is to improve individuals but not to destroy what we have built.”

What caused the deal to fail is under dispute.

Briand’s agent Sendor Dorcent told the local sports radio station 91.9 FM that Briand wanted a package of extras to ease his family’s adaptation to life in Montreal, including housing, schooling and other amenities estimated to be worth about $150,000. The Impact had agreed to pay a transfer fee to Guingamp.

Impact technical director Adam Braz said any extras would have counted towards the team’s salary cap because Briand was to be paid in targeted allocation money (TAM), rather than being a designated player.

“To add things, it changes the dynamics of a deal,” said Braz. “It’s also important that, to our understanding, they agreed to the deal and that’s when everything with MLS was prepared in terms of documents for the transfer, the contract and the plane ticket for him and his family.

“That’s why it was a big surprise and a disappointment to us.”

It’s been suggested that the Impact could have provided the extras on the sly, but Briand wanted it written in the contract.

Either way, the Impact are now looking for other players to sign, but first have to deal with the scoring machine that is Atlanta United, who have the league’s best road record at 6-2-2.

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