In its last two-game road trip, the Impact lost by a 2-1 score against the Atlanta Silverbacks on June 8 and against the Puerto Rico Islanders, last Sunday, in Bayamon.
“We must concentrate on the present, on the games we need to win,” said Impact head coach Marc Dos Santos. “Nobody wants to be in this situation, the Montreal Impact also. We are in the middle of a storm, but our men have character. Our group is strong and united, and we are confident on the future of this team, even though things are not how we imagined them at the moment.”
While seven of the first 10 games of the season were played on the road, seven of the next 10 matches will be played at home, at Saputo Stadium.
“It’s good to be back at home and to play in front of our fans,” added midfielder Hassoun Camara. “We will need to play at the highest level and keep the principles we used even though we lost in Puerto Rico. We will need to apply ourselves on the field to be efficient.”
It will be the second of four matchups between both teams in 2011. Both teams played to a 0-0 tie on May 28 in Florida. The Impact has a winning record of five wins, two losses and seven ties (12GF-8GA) in 14 games against the Floridian team.
The Impact has not won a game against Fort Lauderdale (called Miami FC from 2006 to 2010) since June 23, 2009, recording three ties and one loss since. However, Montreal is unbeaten at home against Fort Lauderdale, with a record of three wins and four ties in seven games.
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers are currently fifth in the NASL standings with a record of three wins, two losses and five ties for a total of 14 points. In their last game, Saturday, the Strikers shut out the Minnesota Stars 3-0, in Florida.
The Strikers have not lost in its last four games, since May 11, recording two wins and two ties. The team has allowed only two goals through this streak, recording three shutouts.
Midfielder Antonio Ribeiro will be available Saturday after serving an automatic one-game suspension last week in Puerto Rico. He was ejected from the game in Atlanta, on June 8, at the 89th minute for receiving a second yellow card in the game.
Striker Ali Gerba returned to Montreal after playing the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup with the Canadian National Team. However, he will not play tomorrow due to a light knee injury.
Impact goalkeeper Bill Gaudette suffered an ankle sprain against Puerto Rico and should be out of the lineup for six to eight weeks. Defender Richard Pelletier (thigh), team captain Nevio Pizzolitto (hip) and midfielder Luke Kreamalmeyer (foot) are still injured.
Goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu, defender Karl Ouimette, midfielder Wandrille Lefevre and forward Mircea Ilcu, all from the Impact U21, could be dressed for the game.
After Saturday’s game, the team will then visit FC Edmonton on Sunday, June 26, before playing its next home game at Saputo Stadium against the Puerto Rico Islanders, on June 29, at 7:30pm (Radio-Canada, CKAC Sports, THE TEAM 990, radio-canada.ca/sports). Tickets for this game are still available through Admission Network (admission.com / 514-790-1245) or at Saputo Stadium’s ticketing office.
• Midfielder David Testo will play his 150th career regular season game in North American second division.
• Midfielder Leonardo Di Lorenzo needs 69 minutes to reach 10,000 regular-season minutes with the Impact. He will become the 11th Impact player in team history to reach this mark.
• Impact U21 players: goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau, midfielder Marco Lapenna and defender Ismail Benomar, are in Mexico for the 2011 FIFA U17 World Cup. In the group stage, Canada will face Uruguay on June 19, England on June 22 and Rwanda on June 25.
• The Saputo family and the Montreal Impact will take part on Sunday to the 5th edition of the Procure Walk of Courage, taking place on June 19 at Ile Ste-Hélène. Mr. Saputo Sr. will act as Honourary Co-President of the event alongside Mayor Gérald Tremblay. Procure helps fight prostate cancer through research, information and public awareness. For more information: procure.ca.
THREE NEXT GAMES
• Sunday, June 26 – IMPACT @ FC Edmonton – Foote Field – 6pm (fcedmonton.com)
• Wednesday, June 29 – Puerto Rico Islanders @ IMPACT – Saputo Stadium – 7:30pm (CKAC Sports, THE TEAM 990, radio-canada.ca/sports)
• Saturday, July 3 – IMPACT @ Carolina RailHawks – WakeMed Soccer Park – 7pm (carolinarailhawks.com)