Binks looking forward to knockout
Binks looking forward to knockout

Luis Binks’ journey in the “MLS in Back” tournament in Florida with the Montreal Impact has now reached the knockout stage.

The Gillingham youngster has featured in all three games of Thierry Henry’s side group campaign which ended with a one-nil win over DC United which sealed progress to a Round of sixteen tie with Orlando United.

Speaking to KSN ahead of the game, Luis told KSN, “I’m delighted. With it being a tournament, it’s always good to get through no matter how you do it so although we were one of the best 3rd placed teams it doesn’t matter as we are still in it and still have a chance to go on and win it.”

After losing their opening game against New England, the Impact then were beaten in a seven-goal thriller in the “derby” against Toronto – a defeat that hit the Impact players hard as Luis admitted. “yeah it wasn’t nice especially with it being a derby, but we didn’t defend well enough as a team and personally I think I could’ve done better and I tried to put that right with a clean sheet versus DC United in the last game.”

Luis was subbed at half time and gave us this honest assessment – he said, “It wasn’t good and not something any player likes but it’s part and parcel of football, the highs and lows. I was arguably at fault for the second goal and something had to change defensively so I was the one who got withdrawn. It’s something I can learn from and something that will only help me with my development.”

The Impact path into the knockout stages was eventually sealed with a single goal win over DC in their final group game which unsurprisingly lifted the camps spirits as Luis explained – “yeah the performance was much better. I felt as though we had better chances and looked like we were more threatening and kept the ball well in large spells.”

“The change to a back four also helped; I think as we looked more solid and didn’t concede too many clear-cut chances. I personally prefer a back four only because I’ve grown up always playing in a back four, so I have more experience in that system.”

The win could have been by more than Saphir Taider’s goal had Max Urruti not rattled the inside of the DC post, but at the other end, Impact keeper Clement Diop also proved his worth to the side again as Luis confirmed, “yeah like I said before the tournament; he’s a player that is important for us and someone who is a great shot stopper and I wouldn’t be surprised if clubs were looking at him as he’s made so many good saves for us this tournament.”

Next up for Impact is Orlando United whose star player is undoubtedly former Manchester United star and Portuguese international Nani – a tough test ahead for Luis and his teammates, “it’ll be a good game,” he confirmed. “They’ve got some experienced players in the league and experienced players within football so it’ll be a good game of football and let’s hope we can move on.”

Away from the action, the continuing pandemic could yet play havoc with the Impact’s MLS campaign when the League returns in September. In the last week, the Canadian government have banned baseball side the Toronto Blue Jays from playing in their home city – news that hasn’t gone down well with Impact.

Luis said, “we are unsure of what is happening after this tournament but with the Blue Jays being told they can’t play home games it doesn’t look as though we will be able to either. Also, with the Canadian/US border being shut that is also a problem for us. The situation within “the bubble” is good. At the start there were a few cases resulting in FC Dallas and Nashville having to go home and not take part and the odd case from some more teams but up until now it’s all been good, touch wood!”