The Utahans on a sequence of three straight wins
The Impact is progressively getting back to its Stade Saputo home. Montreal will play three games in eight days on Quebec soil, and despite it being a grueling sequence, the players will rejoice to see their supporters, starting this Wednesday at 7:30pm when Real Salt Lake pays a visit (TICKETS – TVA Sports, TSN, 98.5, TSN 690). This return home could not have come at a better time for Rémi Garde and his men, who have just one win in their last five games, but who will be able to count on midfielder Samuel Piette, back from a one-game suspension. We invite you to arrive early for this one, as the first 5,000 supporters to enter Stade Saputo will get their copy of the 2019 official team photo.
The Salt Lakers, on their end, have found success in the past few weeks, despite the absence of captain Kyle Beckerman – who recently parted ways with his traditional dreads –, who may be available against the Impact. Montreal’s backline will also need to keep a close eye on Designated Players Albert Rusnak and Sam Johnson, who have scored five and four goals respectively since the start of the campaign, while also watching Jefferson Savarino and his long-distance strikes, author of three goals in 2019. Here are three elements to look out for against an opponent we see at Stade Saputo just once every two years.
1. Quick changes in rhythm
Mike Petke’s team is a spitting image of its head coach: they slowly pass the ball around and suddenly, they explode. It isn’t rare for Salt Lake to exploit space on the wings, whether it’s to play in a defender’s back or to simply change the focal point of an attack. A combination of pressing and defensive instinct on the Impact’s end will help minimize this type of threat.
2. The first 10 minutes
Recently, Montreal has often let its opponent score early in the game. The Impact will therefore have to stay focused entering this matchup, approaching it with the mentality of giving them nothing from the very beginning, to start the game off on the right foot, the first of three consecutive games at Stade Saputo that can have a large influence on how the rest of the season goes.
Even if the Impact hasn’t scored a goal in the first half since the game on March 16 in Orlando, Montreal will need to be patient in its approach, all while taking calculated risks and dictating the game’s rhythm on their own pitch. Like the popular expression says: “slow and steady wins the race” even if running is indeed useful on a soccer field. You get it.