Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Struggling Impact Close to Signing Canadian International Midfielder Piette

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Struggling Impact Close to Signing Canadian International Midfielder Piette

Article excerpt

Impact close to signing midfielder Piette

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MONTREAL - The expected signing of Canadian national team midfielder Samuel Piette is about the only thing anyone on the Montreal Impact has to smile about lately.

Assistant coach Jason Di Tullio said Wednesday that the acquisition of Piette, a workhorse defensive midfielder from Repentigny, Que., is "close. We're confident that it will be done soon."

Piette, who would need to transfer from CD Izarra of the Spanish second division, has been playing in Europe since he was a teenager but looks ready to head home. The 22-year-old has already played 35 times for Canada, and was eye-catching in recovering balls at the back of the midfield at the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament, where Canada fell to Jamaica in the quarter-finals.

He could be a valuable addition to a team whose starting defensive midfielders, Marco Donadel and Hernan Bernardello, are in their 30s, while Patrice Bernier, who sometimes plays in that spot, is expected to retire at the end of the season.

Piette would be the third player to join Montreal in the current transfer window after Jamaican left back Shaun Francis, who scored against Canada at the Gold Cup, and Romanian centre back Deian Boldor.

Otherwise, there hasn't been much to cheer about on a team that has lost four of its last six league matches and dropped to 10th in the MLS Eastern Conference. The Impact (6-8-6) are coming off a 4-0 away loss to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday that could have been worse if not for a goal post and some deft blocks by the defence.

"I don't think I've been a part of something in my career that was that bad," fullback Daniel Lovitz said of the defeat. "I hope that's as bad as it'll ever get.

"We've got to crawl our way back up and our first chance is this weekend."

That would be a home game Saturday against seventh-place Orlando City (8-6-6), who are winless in their last three.

Practices have been intense this week, with head coach Mauro Biello in a particularly foul mood. …

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