Romell Quioto, moment-seizer

Honduran international focused on playoffs after record year

Romell Quioto has been dominant in 2020.

As the Impact is getting set to take on the New England Revolution this Friday at 6:30pm in the MLS Cup playoffs, the Honduran international gets set to make just his second appearance in the fall tournament, after qualifying with Houston in 2018 and starting one game for the Western Conference team.

If the Impact hopes to make it far into the tournament this year, it’ll need its best player to be at his absolute best.

In a year where every player had a pivotal role to play, perhaps none was as important as Romell Quioto. Consistent throughout this peculiar season, Quioto finished the regular season leading his team in goals, breaking his personal best by scoring eight times in 17 starts, and leading in assists as well, with six helpers.

More than that, he’s consistently shown up when it matters most, even notching the game-winning goal and an assist in a must-win Decision Day showdown against D.C. United.

“Every team needs a guy that can stretch a defense and score goals more often than not,” said Impact head coach Thierry Henry. “Against D.C., he had opportunities in the first half that he didn’t put in the back of the net, but he came back and scored. He stretched them, he won balls, and he made them run.”

That aspect of Romell’s game is what has made him one of the most important pieces in Thierry Henry’s side. That, and his ability to take on opponents in a 1v1 situation. As the head coach mentioned often this season, the game often comes down to crucial moments, and Romell has proven to be the player most able to take advantage of his chances in front of goal and make opponents pay.

“He’s been so important for us this year, added Henry. “The moments during the season when he wasn’t at his best, we suffered. We suffered because he wasn’t stretching teams deep like he usually does. But when Romell is on, like he was during our last game, he’s very difficult to defend against.”

Focused on the prize

After the Impact’s win on Decision Day, the group had the opportunity to return to Montreal and train at Centre Nutrilait, as opposed to returning to their base in New Jersey, where the first team spent most of the third phase of the season. It gave players the chance to see their families and spend some time at home before flying back to the United States to kick off the 2020 playoffs.

“It’s important,” explained Impact forward Romell Quioto. “The mindset is totally different. It takes off a certain stress in regard to properly preparing and I’m convinced it’ll show against New England.”

As it happens often in the MLS Cup playoffs, teams coming into the tournament with positive momentum tend to go far. With a goal and an assist in the last game of the season, Quioto will be hoping that momentum carries into Friday’s game against the Revolution, a team the Impact’s has already faced four times during the regular season. The match gets set to kick-off at 6:30pm on TVA Sports, TSN, 98.5 and TSN 690.

“Desire is key to winning matches,” added Quioto. “We’ve shown as a group in the games we’ve won that it was the case, and Friday’s game will be no exception. This is a difficult and tenacious team that makes for a very hard opposition. The key will be to play intelligently and consistently for 90 minutes to try and get the result in Foxborough.”