The Impact will face a good challenge because the RailHawks are currently on top the NASL standings with 11 wins, one loss and one tie for a total of 34 points. In their last NASL game, the RailHawks won 5-1 against the Silverbacks in Atlanta, last Saturday.
The RailHawks have not lost in their last 12 games and are on a nine-game winning streak, after winning all their games in May and June.
“We will try to not give anything to the RailHawks,” said Impact head coach and sporting director Nick De Santis. “We know we can play well against good teams, we showed it earlier this year against Vancouver. We must execute all the little details defensively and offensively. After playing last Wednesday, we will need to be able to count on our bench, and they could make the difference. We must grow mentally and physically and the results will come.”
“I’m happy to be back on the field. I felt good during the last game, but I must find back my instincts,” said striker Ali Gerba. “The most important game, whichever team we face, is to win games. The matchup against Carolina will be a good challenge, but what matters now is to work on finding back our confidence, grow and get points.”
Montreal has been shut out throughout the last three games and will try to score its first goal since June 12. In its last regular season game, the Impact tied the Puerto Rico Islanders 0-0, last Wednesday, at Saputo Stadium.
“We must find our marks back, not only for Sunday’s game, but for the all the upcoming games,” added midfielder David Testo. “We must play our own game and be smart. If we play like we did against Puerto Rico, we could get a good result in Carolina. Personally, it will be special to play once more in front of my family.”
Maltese striker Etienne Barbara is currently leading the league in goals and points with 14 goals and seven assists for 35 points. He has three multiple goal games. He was also named NASL Player of the Month in April and May.
It will be the third of four matchups between both teams in 2011. Montreal has lost the first two matchups 2-1 this season, on Apr. 16, in Cary, and on May 14, at Saputo Stadium.
Forward Pierre-Rudolph Mayard will miss the remainder of the season due to a righ knee injury that occurred during practice on June 26.
Goalkeeper Bill Gaudette (ankle), defenders Nevio Pizzolitto (hip) and Richard Pelletier (thigh), as well as forward Reda Agourram (groin) are also injured and did not travel with the team.
The Impact will play its next home game at Saputo Stadium against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, on July 13, at 7:30pm (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.
In the meantime, the Impact U21 team will face the North York Astros, Saturday at 1pm at Saputo Stadium. The Impact is currently first in the Canadian Soccer League. Admission at the doors will be $4 for adults and $2 for children. Entrance for the Impact U21 games at Saputo Stadium is free for Montreal Impact season ticket holders.
THREE NEXT GAMES
• 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)
• Friday, July 22 – IMPACT @ Minnesota Stars – National Sports Center – 8:30pm