Preview: Impact back in action for first time in two weeks

Vancouver Whitecaps FC - Montreal Impact
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 – 10pm (EDT)
B.C. Place

Radio: TSN Radio 690

Twitter: @impactmontreal

Viewing party: Ciociaro Sports Bar (8868 Boulevard Langelier)


VANCOUVER, B.C. – Playing its first game in two weeks due to the FIFA World Cup break, the Montreal Impact is in Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps FC this Wednesday at 10pm EDT. The game will be broadcast live on TSN, RDS and TSN Radio 690.

“We played some reserve games and have added some new players, so it’s like a fresh start,” said defender Matteo Ferrari. “Last year we were first in the standings at this point and then we won maybe one or two games in the second half. We can start from the beginning and see what happens. We aren’t in a good place, but it’s not impossible for us to be fighting with other teams for that final playoff spot.”

First up for the Impact (2-7-4) will be Canadian rival Vancouver, who has replaced some of its veterans with young, speedy players in attacking positions and have road them to fifth place in the Western Conference with a 5-2-6 record and 21 points.

The Whitecaps are currently tied for third in the entire league in scoring with 25 goals and are undefeated in their last seven MLS games (3-0-4), a team record.

“They are a team that has pace in the final third,” explained head coach Frank Klopas, “So tactically we have to have a good game plan. I have a lot of confidence in my team. I’m excited and I think the players should be as well.”

Part of that pace comes from newcomer Pedro Morales, who leads the team in scoring with six goals and five assists since joining the team from La Liga. Forward Erik Hurtado has taken the bull by the horns in Vancouver, scoring a goal in each of his last four games, which were his only starts of the season, while the veteran leadership of Andy O’Brien at centre back has kept things balanced.

Looking to add some depth to the Impact’s lineup is recently signed Gorka Larrea. The Spanish midfielder went 90 minutes in a reserve league game last week and looks ready to grab the reigns left vacant with the eventual departure of Hernan Bernardello.

“I’m very happy to be here,” said Larrea, who played over eight seasons in Spain’s first and second divisions. “I think we have a good team. We have to be compact tactically in midfield. My job is to organize the team to move forward and then help get goals.”

Whitecaps defender Steven Beitashour is currently at the World Cup in Brazil with Iran, while team captain Jay Demerit is out six weeks with a tendon tear in his left ankle.

The Impact will play its next game at home this Sunday at 7:30pm (EDT) against the Houston Dynamo. The club will celebrate Multicultural Day at Stade Saputo.


- This is the lone regular season game between these teams in 2014. The Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps FC faced each other once in the regular season in 2013. Vancouver beat the Impact 3-0 on September 21 at Stade Saputo. However, following a 0-0 tie in the first leg in Montreal and a 2-2 tie in the return leg in Vancouver, the Impact won the Voyageurs Cup against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC last season.

- Midfielder Andrés Romero is currently on a three-game streak with at least one goal in the MLS regular season.

- Striker Jack McInerney scored his its last two games in MLS. He’s scored six goals in his last nine games, including three in the team’s Amway Canadian Championship run. He has scored seven goals since joining the team. From his 29 career goals, Jack Mac has scored an impressive total of 17 on the road.

- Goalkeeper Troy Perkins has a record of two wins, one loss and one tie, including a 1.25 GAA in career against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.