MONTREAL – After his team filled the net in a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum did something he hardly ever does: he talked about the next game.
The message? "We can score goals, and we are ready."
With the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship final against the Vancouver Whitecaps on the horizon on Wednesday (10 pm ET, Sportsnet in Canada), Schällibaum’s words were anything but a vague assessment of his team’s offensive proficiency.
With 17 goals in six games in May, the Impact have reason to believe they can put pressure on the ‘Caps. And a 0-0 result in the first leg means that every Montreal goal at BC Place forces Caps head coach Martin Rennie’s hand. While the Scot did mastermind the only clean sheet opponents have kept against the Impact this month, Schällibaum does expect Vancouver to be more open this time around.
“If I have a choice, plan A is scoring right away, but hey, there’s always an opponent there who doesn’t want that,” Schällibaum told the media on Monday morning. “What’s important is that we go on the field like we did in the last game – and even throughout that season – and to bring back the cup to Montreal with that objective in mind.”
On the other hand, no goals in the home first leg also entails that Montreal all but need to score in Vancouver. Pressure, you say? Not if you ask the Impact players, who reckon the now-clean bill of health for Montreal’s first-choice backline shall be a significant test for the ‘Caps.
“I think people forget that they need a goal just as much as we do,” forward Andrew Wenger said. “And if we score a goal there, then they’re in a lot of trouble. So the way I look at it, there’s more pressure on them than there is on us.”
And despite the three goals they conceded on the weekend, Montreal feel they can keep the pressure of having to score on Vancouver. The mentality isn’t devil-may-care. But Schällibaum does find comfort in the fact that, for his men, giving up multiple goals dares them to simply score one more.
“This team wants to go forward 100 percent,” Schällibaum said, “so why stop people who want to go forward and have success? We’re going to Vancouver in the same frame of mind. I can’t play another way with this team: they absolutely want to build on what they’ve shown these past few weeks, so I can’t use the handbrake.”