HOUSTON, Texas – With the rivalry growing between the Orange and IMFC over the years, the Montreal Impact heads to Houston expecting a tough game against the Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium this Saturday (8:30pm EDT, TVA Sports, TSN Radio 690).
“A good rivalry for sure,” said assistant coach Mauro Biello. “They are always tough games between the two teams and we are expecting a very physical game.”
Despite sitting just ahead of the Impact (5-15-5) in the Eastern Conference standings, the Dynamo (8-13-4) is just five points out of the playoffs and usually comes alive around playoff time.
“This time of year is when they really start going,” explained keeper Evan Bush. “Going down there, where they have had a lot of success, we will have to match they’re intensity. We are both in good stretches right now, so it should be a really good game.”
With the Dynamo unbeaten in its last four games at home (2-0-2), a lot of its success has come from dead ball situations.
“They are a good team on set pieces, especially Brad Davis,” added Biello. “They scored two goals that way last game and they have big bodies to send forward into the box.”
The Orange will be without Kofi Sarkodie (suspended, yellow card accumulation), Will Bruin (foot sprain) and goalkeeper Tally Hall (ACL injury), but have added another Honduran to its midfield in Luis Garrido on loan from C.D. Olimpia.
The Impact is also on a bit of a run as well, winning three of its last four games. New DP Ignacio Piatti’s arrival has helped the team offensively, but the bleu-blanc-noir feels that the collective performance defensively of the group has also been a key ingredient.
“We have found some rhythm and that helps with the confidence,” explained Wandrille Lefèvre. “Collectively, we’ve been defending much better, reacting when we don’t have the ball. We are more compact and close down those open spaces. The battle for the second ball will be the key. Winning the 50/50 ball is important, but then making sure we gain control after that will be a key because Houston will battle for every ball at home.”
“Our transition game has improved, “clarified Biello. “We defended well last game and were able to transition well. Then when you have guys like Di Vaio, Piatti, Duka and Romero, they can put defenders off balance.”
Following the game in Texas, the Impact will face Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and the LA Galaxy on Wednesday, September 10 at 7:30pm EDT, at Stade Saputo. Excellent tickets for that game are still available through ticketmaster.ca
- Striker Marco Di Vaio has registered four goals and one assist in six career games against the Dynamo, while striker Jack McInerney has four goals, including two with the Impact, in five career games against Houston.
- The Impact has a regular season record of 4-1-3 against the Dynamo, having outscored the Orange 14-5 at home, but has managed just one goal in four games in the Lonestar state, with a record of 0-3-1.
- Defender Hassoun Camara will miss the game due to a suspension handed down the league’s disciplinary committee, while the Impact’s new centre back Gege Soriola is out indefinitely due to a shoulder injury.
- Midfielders Patrice Bernier and Issey Nakajima-Farran are currently with the Canadian National Team to play in an international friendly against Jamaica on September 9 at 7pm at BMO Field, in Toronto.
- Midfielder Jeremy Gagnon-Laparé, also selected by the Canadian National Team, will join his teammates in Houston for Satuday’s game before returning to Toronto on Sunday.
- Also selected by the CMNT, defender Karl W. Ouimette is currently in Montreal for his sister Julie’s funeral, who passed away on Monday following a 12-year battle with Leukemia. All Impact players will wear a black armband during the match against the Dynamo in support of their teammate. Ouimette will return to the national team on Sunday.
Wandrille Lefèvre's pre-game comments:
Mauro Biello's pre-game comments:
Evan Bush's pre-game comments: