Impact captain Patrice Bernier will receive a National Assembly of Quebec medal before Saturday’s game at Saputo Stadium from Katherine Weil, the Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion.
And there’s a good chance Bernier will be included in the starting 11 against the Portland Timbers (3 p.m., TVA Sports, TSN Radio 690) with coach Mauro Biello expected to go with a 4-3-3 formation. The 37-year-old midfielder from Brossard started on the bench last Saturday as the Impact fell behind 2-0 to the Columbus Crew. Bernier came on as a substitute in the second half and the Impact fought back to tie it up 2-2 before losing 3-2 on a Columbus goal in added time.
The Impact now sit in last place in the 11-team Eastern Conference with a 2-4-4 record.
“Every game is a must-win game,” Bernier said before practice Friday at Centre Nutrilait. “You’re 10 games into the season and you want to bounce back.”
The medal is part of the provincial government’s Ensemble, nous sommes le Québec (Together, we are Quebec) campaign and Bernier is being honoured for his general contribution to Quebec society.
The Timbers are in fourth place in the Western Conference with a 4-3-3 record and are led by Nigerian designated-player Fanendo Adi, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound forward who has six goals this season.
Earlier in the week, Biello took responsibility for the Impact’s slow start after advancing to the Eastern Conference final last year.
“I’m responsible for the performances of the team,” said the head coach, who wouldn’t confirm his starting lineup before practice Friday. “It’s up to me to put the team in the best conditions, prepare the team in the right way so they’re able to go out there and execute. It’s about finding those solutions. I’m confident that we will find those solutions because there’s too many signs in all our games that we’re not the team that’s in last place.
“Right now, little mistakes are hurting us,” Biello added. “It’s up to me to find solutions, to provoke them. It’s not like we’re losing 4-0, 3-0. Every game has been decided at the end, basically. So it’s little things that we have to improve. And it’s all these little details that you accumulate and become a big thing. I look at other teams and we’re right there … we score on any of those chances and we could score four or five and I’m confident that’s going to come. It’s going to come where there’s going to be that game.”
The Impact — and Bernier — are hoping that game will be Saturday.