Preview: Impact kicks off 2013 season against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday
Seattle Sounders – Montreal Impact
Saturday, March 2, 10:30pm (ET)
Broadcast: TVA Sports, CJAD 800 AM, 95,5FM
Also available on: illico web, illico mobile and MLS Live
MONTREAL, Quebec – The Montreal Impact is set to kick off the 2013 regular season on the road this Saturday, at 10:30 pm (ET), as the club plays the Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on opening weekend in MLS. The game will be broadcast live on TVA Sports, CJAD 800 AM and 98,5FM, and is available on illico web, illico mobile and MLS Live.
The Impact ended its preseason camp in Florida by beating the Columbus Crew in the final of the Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic down in Orlando, Florida by a 1-0 score. Justin Mapp scored the game winner.
The Impact went undefeated in the tournament, beating Sporting Kansas City 2-1, dominating the Tampa Bay Rowdies 4-1 and tying D.C. United 1-1 to finish top of its group.
Designated Player Marco Di Vaio finished as the team’s top scorer in the tournament, scoring three times and adding an assist in four games, while newcomer Andrea Pisanu set up two goals and scored one of his own, a spectacular half-bicycle kick against D.C. United.
The team went 3-1-2 overall in preseason action.
Joining Pisanu as a new signing in 2013, this game will be the first opening day experience for the Argentinean midfielder Andrés Romero, who joined the club in February.
Injury Report: OUT – M - Sinisa Ubiparipovic (calf); D -Maxim Tissot (shoulder); D - Nelson Rivas (knee)
WATCH: Bernier ready to face the storm
In the only matchup between these clubs last season, the Impact bested the Sounders 4-1 at home on June 16, marking the official re-opening of the expanded Stade Saputo. 2012 team MVP, Patrice Bernier, earned three assists on the night. This will be the only regular-season meeting between both teams in 2013.
In the club’s inaugural game in Major League Soccer on March 10, 2012, the Impact lost 2-0 against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place, in front of 21,000 spectators.
Seattle Sounders news
This is also the season and home opener for the Seattle Sounders FC, which is playing in its fifth MLS season. In 2012, the Sounders FC won their season opener 3-1 against Toronto FC, at CenturyLink Field, in Seattle.
Seattle enjoyed a successful preseason as well, winning the Desert Diamond Cup in Arizona, defeating Real Salt Lake in the final 1-0 and going 4-0-0 during the competition.
In 450 minutes over five matches while in Tucson, including a draw with Mexican side Veracruz, the Sounders allowed just one goal. Part of the reason was the goaltending as Seattle probably packs the best one two punch in goal in the entire league with Michael Gspurning, who finished the 2012 season with the top goals against average in MLS at 0.73, and newcomer Marcus Hahnemann, joining the Sounders from Everton.
While in Tucson, the Sounders made two major player acquisitions, trading for midfielder Shalrie Joseph, who played 10 seasons in MLS and a four time Best-lX selection, along with signing defender Djimi Traore, who won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool.
Former Impact midfielder Lamar Neagle, who was acquired by the Impact at the beginning of last season in a trade, was sent back to Seattle on January 27.
The team did lose star and all-time leading scorer with 47 goals, Fredy Montero, who was sent out on loan to Millonarios FC of the Columbian first division, and will be without DP Christian Tiffert, as the former German international has not been seen at Sounders camp. Defender Jeff Parke was dealt to Philadelphia in the offseason.
Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso will be unavailable for the matchup as he is serving a suspension, following a red card in the playoffs in 2012.
This will mark the fifth straight year that the Sounders have opened the season at home, where they have set new league attendance marks each season, averaging 43,144 per game at CenturyLink Field last year.
WATCH: Perkins knows a thing or two about Sounders supporters
The Impact will remain on the west coast for the entire week as it prepares for its second game of the season in Portland against the Timbers on Saturday, March 9, at 10:30 pm (ET). The game will be broadcast live on TVA Sports and 98,5FM.
Then the team heads back to Montreal to host Toronto FC in its home opener at Olympic Stadium on Saturday, March 16 at 4pm (ET). Individual tickets, min-season packages and season tickets are available by calling 514-328-3668. 2013 season tickets are available in seven categories, at a cost of $295, $385, $475, $580, $770 and $1070.