Painting the picture against the New England Revolution

Impact must win to make the playoffs

33 games and eight months later, the Impact is still in the race, and will put its entire season on the line over a 90-minute game, this Sunday at 4:30pm at Gillette Stadium, on MLS Decision Day (TVA Sports, TSN, 98,5fm, TSN Radio 690). The scenario is quite simple actually: the Bleu-blanc-noir must beat the Revs, while hoping the Columbus Crew SC drops points in any way, shape, or form against Minnesota United at home, if it is to qualify for the postseason. 

The good news for Rémi Garde’s men is that they’re facing a team with nothing to left to play for in 2018, who has only won twice in 16 games since the beginning of July. If gloom reigns among Brad Friedel’s clan, it’s the opposite for the Impact, where confidence is at a high following two convincing wins in a row. The bad news is that the Bleu-blanc-noir hasn’t won at Gillette Stadium since 2015, a sequence of three games during which it hasn’t found the back of the net. Here are the three keys to Sunday’s game. 

1.       Use the flanks

Montreal’s attacking creators are clearly identified by now: Nacho Piatti, one of only six MLS players to have reached double digits in both goals and assists, and Alejandro Silva, who has 11 assists in his first season in North America, make for an explosive duet on the wings. It’s a good thing, since the Revs are vulnerable in those areas: two of the four goals conceded in New England’s last game, against Real Salt Lake, were scored because of openings on the flanks. 

2.       Patience and discipline

We all remember Montreal’s last visit to Gillette Stadium, last April. Saphir Taïder was ejected, slightly unluckily, very early in the game. Staying disciplined, whether during physical contact or in their overall defensive positioning, will be extremely important for Les Montréalais in this MLS Decision Day showdown.  

3.       No regrets

The Impact is playing its most important game of the season, and although its destiny isn’t entirely in its own hands, it’ll have to do everything in its power to win the game. Whether it’s in the overall effort, in scoring opportunities, in defensive coverage or technically, the Bleu-blanc-noir will need to be better than its best and leave everything on the field.