Saturday’s visitors haven’t won in two months
In the blue corner, the Impact has won its last four games at Stade Saputo. In the red corner, the San Jose Earthquakes, still and always led by Chris Wondolowski, who is now only five goals away from the all-time MLS record held by Landon Donovan, are currently on a sequence of 10 games without a victory. The worst team in the West has only two wins in 18 regular season games, both against Minnesota United FC, and have never earned a point through three games in Montreal since 2012. If the Bleu-blanc-noir may seem the favorite at first, nothing is won yet, and Rémi Garde’s troops will have to be wary of an opponent who can score goals and be dynamic offensively. The Montreal squad will have to stay on its toes.
Weakened by Anibal Godoy’s and Harold Cummings’ participation in the World Cup with the Panamanian national team, both back and reintegrated into the line-up last Saturday against Portland, San Jose will probably have to cope without Danny Hoesen, who left the game at Providence Park last week in the 33rd minute. How can the Impact use that to its advantage and come away with a win? Here are the three keys to Saturday’s matchup (TICKETS – TVA Sports, 98,5fm, TSN Radio 690).
- Impose itself in duels and in recovering the ball
It will be crucial for Montreal to impose its style – and its physicality – as quickly as possible in this game. The Quakes have almost forgotten what winning feels like and morale isn’t at its highest at the moment; in these conditions, determination can often crumble. By giving the Californian team no mercy in duels or on second balls, the Impact will quickly gain the psychological edge in this one.
- Move forward quickly
Mikael Stahre’s troops aren’t New York City FC when in possession of the ball but are a far cry from the Colorado Rapids in terms of style. San Jose knows how to play ball. It leaves their opponents with chances to counter, and their defense has quite a difficult time dealing with these situations: they’re easily unbalanced, their lines aren’t straight, and these interstices were taken advantage of more than once by the Earthquakes’ opponents.
- Discipline and prevention
Wondo and his teammates often take advantage of their opponents’ defensive lapses. Turnovers and penalties are frequently exploited by the Californian team to come back into the game, which they most notably did against both teams from Los Angeles recently. The Impact will have to show certainty and serenity in its style of play and its interventions to avoid this type of frustrating situation.