MONTREAL – Snowfall means they’ll wait one more day, but the Impact will try to defend a fine streak when the Seattle Sounders come to the Olympic Stadium this Sunday.
Yes, Montreal’s record does read 0-for-2 as they start their 2013 home schedule. But Montreal are also 2-for-2 all-time against the Sounders, and after drawing positives from their losses to Dallas and Houston, now is the time to take control at home as they did the first time Seattle came to play.
“The first time was the first game at Stade Saputo, so the stakes were special,” midfielder Patrice Bernier told reporters on Thursday. “The second time was rather difficult, we won 1-0 and it was a game that we managed well defensively while taking advantage of the few chances we got. It’s going well, and we want to keep this going. We only face them once a season, so if we can keep the winning streak going against them, it’ll be done until next year.”
A lot can transpire during a year, and this Seattle Sounders team has added significant offensive pieces since the last two teams met in early March 2013. Obafemi Martins is expected to face Montreal for the first time, but Clint Dempsey will be suspended for two games starting this weekend, MLS confirmed on Friday.
“Whether he’s there or not, we must be ready,” Bernier said. Obviously he’s an important piece, a very good player that can change a game. If he's suspended, all the better for us, but I still see Kenny Cooper as a player who can come in, make a difference and score goals.”
For Frank Klopas, who will coach Montreal at home for the first time in his second visit to the Olympic Stadium – Klopas led Chicago to a 1-1 tie at the Big O on March 17, 2012 –, the Sounders’ first two games will be a useful scouting tool, as Dempsey started only one of these while Cooper and Martins paired up for the other.
“So the good thing is that you have enough tape and I know the players really well,” Klopas told reporters on Thursday. “They’ve got different players all with their own qualities. Our team will be ready, and we’ll know the opponent and the players really well, so [the Dempsey decision] won’t be an issue.”
Olivier Tremblay covers the Impact on MLSsoccer.com