The Portland Timbers are one of only two MLS clubs who still haven't played at the Stade Saputo. That will change on Sunday evening with a game against the struggling Montreal Impact. L'Impact have lost four straight, including on Thursday at Real Salt Lake. A rarity this season, or at least recently, the Timbers will be the fully rested team while Montreal will be playing its third game in eight days. For specifics about the Impact we turned to Arcadio Marcuzzi of the excellent Le Footeur site:
1. Last season Montreal came to Portland and won in very impressive fashion. Just how different is the season outlook in July 2014 as compared with March 2013?
If we compare those two periods, it's day and night. Aside from all the squad and coaching movements, the biggest diference I see between the two resides in the general attitude of the team. That Montreal Impact who used to play without any complex in any stadium, with defiance, grit and great opportunism, has become quite the opposite. It's obviously tempting to put all the blame on Frank Klopas, but we must remember this meltdown started halfway through last season, under Marco Schällibaum.
The playoffs hopes are melting quickly for the Montreal fans and the CCL remains the only option for the organization to save the year. Ignacio Piatti's arrival (after Copa Libertadores) could be a turning point on that front.
2. The Impact have scored the fewest goals of any team in MLS and have only scored more than one goal in a game once since April. Will Montreal be able to score enough on Sunday to keep up with the high scoring Timbers?
Unfortunately for Montreal, nothing really seems to indicate that trend will be changing on Sunday. This said, adversity can sometimes be the little spark a struggling squad needs to regroup.
3. This has obviously been a disappointing season for Montreal. But are there any bright spots that could have a big influence on Sunday's game?
There are a few bright spots in this bleak season. The increased involvement and good form of the homegrown youngsters being the biggest one, in my opinion. Also, despite being highly criticised, the Impact's front office was able to pull a couple good trades during the campaign, Jack McInerney for Andrew Wenger being the mastrerpiece.
Another positive is the good present of Andrés Romero, who is redeeming himself for his terrible 2013 season. Marco Di Vaio is also finding his groove, after missing a lot of action this year (suspension and injury). If Romero (with his speed), and Di Vaio lead the way offensively, and the defence manages to perfrom a solid 90 minutes performance (especially on set pieces), then Montreal has a chance on Sunday.
Issey Nakajima-Farran (red)
Expected Starting XI:
Krzysztof Krol - Heath Pearce - Matteo Ferrari - Hassoun Camara
Andres Romero - Patrice Bernier - Felipe - Justin Mapp
Marco Di Vaio - Jack McInerney