Painting the picture against the Columbus Crew SC, presented by Benjamin Moore

The three keys to Impact’s road game in Columbus

A growing rivalry exists between the Montreal Impact and the Columbus Crew SC. Each meeting has surprising, emotional, and intense moments. It’s that type of game we can look forward to on Saturday, at 1pm, at MAPFRE Stadium in Ohio (TVA Sports, CTV, TSN). If the hosts have already banked three points, going into Toronto and beating the defending champions – and our eternal rivals – in their own stadium, Montreal will want to forget the loss it suffered on the West coast at the hands of the Whitecaps last Sunday. Here are the three keys to Saturday afternoon’s game, presented by Benjamin Moore.

1. Be careful with the Crew’s accelerations

When we say accelerations, we’re not only referring to individual accelerations from wingers like Martinez or Santos or the striker, Zardes, but also to collective accelerations, as in the rhythm of the Crew’s passing game. Against Toronto last weekend, the Black & Gold scored twice on quick transitions: the first goal came off a long diagonal ball from Artur to Valuenza, who crossed for Higuain, and the second came when Santos carried the ball from his half of the field up to the final third, before passing it through to Zardes. The lighting fast buildups gave the Crew the victory at BMO Field.

2. Find inspiration from the first 15 minutes of the second half in Vancouver

After being prudent and rigorous defensively during the first half at BC Place, the Impact started the second half with a lot more attacking bite. It’ll be important to remember what caused the Bleu-blanc-noir’s success during this period, which gave the opponent many issues. The players will need to showcase their initiative, inventiveness, and spontaneity, without unbalancing themselves too much; Columbus’ counter-attack is excellent.

3. Stay patient defensively

When the Impact’s block is set up, it is very difficult to break. The tactical animations installed by head coach Rémi Garde give a sense of assurance at the back, but the Impact will have to stay careful in the duels: there’s talent and speed in front of them, and Columbus’ offensive quartet is a dangerous one.