The Impact will try to get back on the winning track after losing seven of the first 12 matches of the season.
“What we need to do tomorrow is to protect our home. Montreal was always one of the toughest places to play and that needs to be like that again,” said sporting director Nick De Santis, who has been named interim head coach Tuesday following the resignation of Marc Dos Santos. “We can’t hide the fact that there is a bit of tension and a lack of confidence in the team right now, but our players need to realize the strength they have and bring it. They must enjoy playing. I want them to succeed and to help them improve.”
“We are all disappointed with what’s happening and the results we had but now we have to turn the page,” said team captain Nevio Pizzolitto. “It has to be a quick transition. The players have to step on the field and work hard to get the three points. We need to find solutions in order to make the playoffs.”
It will be the second of four matchups between both teams in 2011. The Impact lost the first game 2-1, on June 12, at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium, in Bayamon.
“There’s no doubt that tomorrow’s game against Puerto Rico is huge,” said defender Simon Gatti. “I think we were the best team throughout the last matchup against the Islanders regarding ball possession, but we made some mistakes that were costly. If we play a solid game defensively, we will be a in a good position to get the three points.”
The Impact has a winning record of 11 wins, five losses and four ties (22GF-13GA) in 20 games against the Puerto Rico franchise, since 2004.
The Puerto Rico Islanders are currently third in the NASL standings with a record of five wins, four losses and three ties for a total of 18 points in 12 games.
In its last regular season game on Saturday, the Islanders played to a 1-1 tie against the Strikers, in Fort Lauderdale.
Striker Ali Gerba will be available after missing two games with a knee injury, suffered during the last Gold Cup.
Goalkeeper Bill Gaudette (ankle) and Maxime Crépeau (knee), defenders Nevio Pizzolitto (hip) and Richard Pelletier (thigh), as well as forwards Reda Agourram (groin) and Pierre-Rudolph Mayard (knee) are still injured.
The team will then visit the Carolina RailHawks on Sunday, July 3 (carolinarailhawks.com), before playing its next home game at Saputo Stadium against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, on July 13, 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.
• Saturday, July 3 – IMPACT @ Carolina RailHawks – WakeMed Soccer Park – 7pm (carolinarailhawks.com)
• Wednesday, July 13 – Fort Lauderdale Strikers @ IMPACT – Saputo Stadium – 7:30pm (CKAC Sports, THE TEAM 990, radio-canada.ca/sports)
• Saturday, July 17 – Atlanta Silverbacks @ IMPACT – Saputo Stadium – 3:30pm (CKAC Sports, THE TEAM 990, radio-canada.ca/sports)