A former rival comes to Stade Saputo with winds in its sails
A big challenge awaits the Bleu-blanc-noir, this Saturday at 7pm at Stade Saputo (TICKETS – TVA Sports, TSN, 98,5fm, TSN Radio 690): the top team in the Western Conference, Sporting Kansas City, comes to Montreal following a spectacular remontada, last weekend against the Houston Dynamo, in the Blue Hell. Indeed, Peter Vermes’ men, trailing 0-2 at the half, scored three goals with no response, including two in the game’s last 10 minutes, to come within two points of Atlanta United FC, who leads the way in the race to the Supporters’ Shield.
The league’s best defense comes to Montreal on a nine-game streak of invincibility. But there are still glimmers of hope for the Bleu-blanc-noir: SKC is much less convincing away from home, drawing games to Portland and Minnesota in that sequence, and Matt Besler, the cornerstone of their defense – playing next to Ike Okara, please note – and a veteran of the American national team, remains questionable, and may not make the trip with the rest of the representatives of Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s adopted state. Here are the three keys to the game in what will be a hotter than usual Montreal.
- Discipline in positioning
Sporting’s passing game is among the league’s best. Kansas is excellent at settling into the opponent’s final third, keeping possession of the ball and finding open teammates. To counter this strategy, the Bleu-blanc-noir’s players will need to quickly apply pressure on the holder of the ball, all while being disciplined in their positioning to keep themselves close to every opposing player.
- Watch out for Daniel Salloi
The young 21-year-old Hungarian is the star of the hour in MLS. The centre-forward scored a goal and added two assists in his team’s comeback against the Dynamo and has accumulated five goals and six assists in 2018. Equally capable of striking dangerous curled shots from outside the 18-yard box as he is at being forgotten inside the box, SKC’s number 20 is definitely someone the Impact will need to keep an eye on.
- Manage the heat
We’re expecting 42 degrees Celsius this Saturday in Montreal. Whether in the stands or on the field, everyone needs to be prepared for this kind of heat; hydration will be particularly important, but it’ll also be vital for the players to dose their efforts and work as a team, a little like last week in Orlando. For yourselves, the supporters, a good way to fight the heat is to take advantage of our 2 for 1 on all drinks at the stadium from 5 to 6pm.