Despite implementing a defensive strategy in the second half, le onze montrealais were able to create offence from counter attacks and hold its line defensively to come out with a win in Seattle last weekend. It will be imperative that the Impact repeats its performance this Saturday in Portland if they want to take another three points form a tough road game on the west coast.
“It’s a tough place to go in a get a result,” said captain Davy Arnaud, whose experienced the hostile environment a few times over his 11-year MLS career. “They had a tough season last year, so they’ll be motivated to have a good start, especially in front of those supporters. The atmosphere is incredible. Talking to friends who’ve played there, they say it’s amazing.”
The Sounders play in front of a very ruckus 40,000 fans, and although JELD-WEN Field doesn’t hold as many supporters, it is a second straight game on turf for the Impact, in front of a good home town crowd of 20,000 plus screaming fans and a supporters group, the Timbers Army, that is among the best in the league.
Nobody knows how difficult it can be for opposing teams to play there better than Impact keeper Troy Perkins, who returns to his old stomping grounds for the first time since being traded to the Impact last summer.
“I’m really excited for this game,” said Perkins. “They are going to feed off of their fans, but they would have already played their home opener, so that buzz and excitement should be a little less vibrant and we would have already played in front of a huge crowd in Seattle, so that should help us as well.”
The Impact will have to build on some of the successes it had in Seattle. Despite coming out on the short end of the stick in terms of possession, shots, and most statistical categories, the team won 61 duels as the road team, just two less than the Sounders, and the Impact actually finished ahead in fouls committed with 11 to 10.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” added Arnaud, “but we’ll be ready for it.”