MONTREAL – Wednesday night’s matchup at Stade Saputo (7:30pm - TSN, RDS, TSN Radio 690) between the Montreal Impact (5-16-5) and the LA Galaxy (14-5-7) could be an offensive affair with both teams scoring goals in recent weeks, but will also have an air of melancholy to it.
The Impact will honour defender Karl W. Ouimette’s sister, who died last week after a 12-year battle with Leukemia. The team will be wearing a black armband for a second straight game, there will be a moment of silence prior to kickoff and all spectators will be encouraged to applaud at the 34th minute to show support.
“These are difficult moments,” said head coach Frank Klopas. “Karl is part of this family and we, as a team, a club and a city, will offer him all the support he needs during this time.”
The Galaxy will also have one of their own on their minds as defender A.J. DeLaGarza lost his son to heart problems last week as well.
“It humbles you as a person to hear about these things,” added Klopas. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”
This game will also mark the final time U.S. Soccer legend Landon Donovan will lineup against the Impact, retiring at the end of the 2014 season as the league’s all-time leading goal scorer. Donovan has been in fine form for his farewell tour, having been named the MLS Player of the Week for the second consecutive time.
“I’m excited to see him and play against him,” said American midfielder Dilly Duka, who’s played for the U.S. at youth levels. “For my generation, he’s been a role model and he’s done so much for U.S. soccer.”
With LD in top form, Gyasi Zardes scoring goals and Robbie Keane back from international duty with Ireland, the Galaxy will be primed to score some goals, coming off a 6-0 trouncing of the Colorado Rapids last weekend.
Add to the mix the recently acquired Alan Gordon from the San Jose Earthquakes and the Galaxy has a number of attacking options.
“They have a lot of dangerous players in the final third,” said head coach Frank Klopas. “They are a team that has been together a long time and they have a good idea of how they play, with a solid foundation.”
However, IMFC knows that they can’t get caught up in worrying too much about one player. Soccer is a team game.
“They have some really good players, but that doesn’t change anything for us. We have to remain focused on what we have to do and what we’ve been doing in recent weeks,” explained defender Wandrille Lefèvre. “We have to prepare for our Champions League game next week, so we will go out there and play like we have nothing to lose.”
The bleu-blanc-noir has some attacking options of its own as the additions of Ignacio Piatti and Dilly Duka continue to pay dividends, both scoring last Saturday in Houston , a place where the Impact had scored just once in six previous matchups. The Impact now has scored at least two goals in its last four games.
Add to that three straight wins at home and a shutout streak of 216 minutes at Stade Saputo, and Wednesday’s clash on the pitch should be epic.
“We are a good team at home,” added Klopas. “We have to be good with the ball and stay compact. Transition is key, not to be stretched out too wide and our ability to finish in the final third will be important. We have the tools and the ability to attack and overall we have to remain focused for the 90 minutes.”
- Defender Hassoun Camara will be available against the Galaxy after serving a one-game suspension in Houston.
- The Impact will play Wednesday the second of five games in 15 days, including four regular-season games in MLS and a CONCACAF Champions League matchup.
- Midfielders Patrice Bernier, Jeremy Gagnon-Laparé and Issey Nakajima-Farran, as well as defender Karl W. Ouimette are currently with Canada’s national team to play an international friendly against Jamaica tonight at BMO Field, in Toronto.
- Designated Player Ignacio Piatti scored his third goal in four games, Saturday in Houston, after opening his MLS account with a brace against Columbus the previous week. He had also recorded his first assist with the club in El Salvador in the CONCACAF Champions League.
- The Galaxy is on a five-game winning streak, having scored 19 goals over that span.
Goalkeeper Jamie Penedo will miss the match due to national team duty with Panama.
Frank Klopas pre-game comments:
Dilly Duka pre-game comments:
Wandrille Lefèvre pre-game comments: