Impact and Stade Saputo to be reunited on Saturday
Finally! The Bleu-blanc-noir will be back at Stade Saputo, Saturday at 1pm (TICKETS), forcing spring to finally wake up and make an appearance. Anyway, that’s how we see it. Although it’ll be wonderful to see Stade Saputo’s smooth, green grass, the task will be a difficult one against expansion team Los Angeles FC. The new kids on the block, who inaugurated their brand-new Banc of California Stadium on Wednesday, are looking for their fourth win on the road, having not yet played a game at home this year. Here are the three keys to the first game at Stade Saputo in 2018.
- Regain confidence
After a difficult game in New York last week, the Impact will have to hit its stride early in Saturday’s game. LAFC presses a lot less than the Red Bulls, preferring a slower buildup instead, which will allow the Bleu-blanc-noir to breathe. Nonetheless, the Impact will have to complete more passes and limit interceptions in the beginning of the game to solidify its collective play.
- Manage the Rossi-Vela tandem
All in all, LAFC’s offense is heavily dependent on the performance of its two Designated Players, Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela. The two forwards have accumulated eight goals and six assists thus far; LAFC has scored 11 goals. The Impact’s defense will have to pay special attention to Vela when he’s operating on the right flank; the ex-Arsenal and Real Sociedad man has a lethal left foot.
- Exploit the flanks
Whether Bob Bradley’s team lines up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, like we saw in the first four games of the season, or in a 3-4-3 formation, like in its win against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC last week, and probably due João Moutinho’s suspension – not him, the other one –, there will probably be a lot of traffic in midfield. This means that space will no doubt be abundant on the flanks; the full-backs’ overlaps will be crucial in creating uncertainty in the visitors’ defense.