August 21, 2019 2:40 pm
Updated: August 21, 2019 3:58 pm

Montreal Impact fire coach Rémi Garde as they struggle to hold on to last playoff spot

Montreal Impact head coach Rémi Garde was in his second season with the team.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

The Montreal Impact have fired head coach Rémi Garde and replaced him with Wilmer Cabrera.

The Impact announced the move Wednesday. It comes 27 games into the Garde’s second season with the club, which is struggling to hang on to a Major League Soccer playoff spot.

Assistant coach Joel Bats and fitness coach Robert Duverne were also dismissed, while assistant coach Wilfried Nancy and goalkeeper coach Remy Vercoutre join Cabrera’s staff. Former Impact captain Patrice Bernier will also join the staff as an assistant.

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READ MORE: Montreal Impact blow three goal lead, settle for draw with FC Dallas

The Impact have just one win in their last eight league matches (1-6-1) and are coming off a shocking 3-3 draw with FC Dallas at Saputo Stadium on Saturday that saw the visitors erase a 3-0 deficit with three goals in just over 30 minutes.

Montreal (10-13-4) has a precarious hold on the seventh and final Eastern Conference playoff spot, tied on points at 34 with Orlando City and Toronto FC but with one more win than the other two clubs. However, Toronto has played one fewer game.

“Because I have so much respect for Rémi as a person and as a professional, it was a very difficult decision to make and it was well thought, but our latest series of failures in the past couple of months and the way the team acts on the field led to that change,” said Montreal Impact president and CEO Kevin Gilmore said in a statement.

Garde, a former France international, led the Impact to a 24-29-8 MLS regular-season action record. The club missed the playoffs last year after a 1-0 loss to the New England Revolution on the final day of the regular season.

READ MORE: Piatti leads the way as Montreal Impact beat Cavalry FC 2-1 in opening leg of Canadian Championship semifinal

Cabrera joins the Impact after being fired by the Houston Dynamo last week.

The 51-year-old led the Dynamo to the Western Conference finals in the 2017 MLS Cup playoffs and a US Open Cup title in 2018, but Houston (9-13-4, 31 points) has struggled this season and is six points back of Portland for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Colombian was also head coach of Chivas USA during the club’s final season in 2014, and was assistant coach with the Colorado Rapids during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He coached the U.S. under-17 team from 2007 to 2012.

He spent most of his playing career in Colombia with stints in Argentina and Costa Rica.

He earned 48 caps and scored three goals with Colombia’s national team between 1989 and 1998.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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