Montreal Impact vs. Colorado Rapids | MLS Match Preview

MONTRÉAL IMPACT vs COLORADO RAPIDS
STADE SAPUTO, Montréal, Qué.
June 29, 2013 (WEEK 18, MLS Game #155) 7 p.m. ET (UDN; TVA; Altitude)

The leaders of the Eastern Conference, the Montréal Impact will look to maintain their undefeated home record when they play host to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Stade Saputo. The Impact are coming off a home win 10 days ago, a 2-0 win against the Houston Dynamo. The Rapids remain on the road riding a three-match losing streak, their last contest a 3-0 defeat at the Portland Timbers.

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REFEREE: Drew Fischer. AR1 (bench): Philippe Briere; AR2 (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Mathieu Bourdeau
MLS Career: 15 games; FC/gm: 26.2; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 1; pens: 5

DISABLED LIST: COL: Diego Calderón, Matt Pickens
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: MTL: Felipe Martins … COL: Hendry Thomas
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: MTL: Dennis Iapichino, Hassoun Camara … COL: Shane O’Neill, Dillon Powers
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: COL: Shane O’Neill, Dillon Serna (both USA U-20)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (1 meeting): Impact 0 wins, 2 goals … Rapids 1 win, 3 goals … Ties 0
AT MONTREAL: First meeting.

LAST YEAR (MLS)
5/26: COL 3, MTL 2 (Larentowicz 18; Moor 39; Castrillon 83 – Bernier 14; Wenger 48)

  • The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.
  • The Rapids won the only previous meeting between the teams, a wild 3-2 result last May 26 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • Coaches record: Marco Schallibaum vs. COL: first game … Oscar Pareja vs. MTL: P1 W1 L0 T0

MONTREAL IMPACT
The Montréal Impact return to action after a weekend off, regaining the top spot in the Eastern Conference in their last match, a 2-0 win against the Houston Dynamo on June 19 at Stade Saputo. The Impact lead the Eastern Conference with 29 points from 14 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Impact took the lead after 14 minutes. A wonderful through ball from Patrice Bernier beat the Dynamo's offside trap and found Felipe racing into the area, and he finished by poking the ball between Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall’s legs.
  • The Dynamo had a glorious chance to level the score eight minutes later. Matteo Ferrari clipped Dynamo striker Will Bruin in the Montreal box, leading referee Chris Penso to point to the spot. Giles Barnes stepped up to take the penalty, but he skied his attempt into the East Stand.
  • The Impact then doubled the lead in the 32nd minute. Corey Ashe weighed his back pass from midfield wrong and it turned into an assist for Marco Di Vaio, who raced to the ball and then in on goal before lobbing Hall with stunning composure.
  • Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum made four changes to the team that dropped a 2-0 decision to the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Alessandro Nesta came into the back four for Dennis Iapichino, and Sanna Nyassi, Andrea Pisanu and Daniele Paponi all started in place of Justin Mapp, Collen Warner and Andrew Wenger.
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-1-3-2): Troy Perkins - Jeb Brovsky, Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta, Hassoun Camara - Patrice Bernier - Sanna Nyassi, Felipe Martins, Andrea Pisanu (Andres Romero 65) - Marco Di Vaio (Collen Warner 88), Daniele Paponi (Andrew Wenger 73).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Impact returned home and won for the fourth consecutive match at Stade Saputo in the victory against Houston. Montréal remains atop the Eastern Conference, now clear by four points, and are one of three teams still unbeaten on the season on their home ground (along with FC Dallas and Vancouver).
  • “We started the game like fireworks, we broke them down in the first half, and even though we respect them, we tried to get four, five, even six,” Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum said. “We didn’t get them, and it was a tough game to manage at 2-0. It must be said that we weren‘t as good in the second half, but we remained solid and committed defensively.”
  • Marco Di Vaio scored his first goal after being blanked in back-to-back games, and is now in a three-way tie atop the MLS Golden Boot standings with Philadelphia’s Jack McInerney and Chicago’s Mike Magee.
  • “It’s easier for me now that everyone knows my runs, how I move on the field,” Di Vaio said. “Playing with Andrew [Wenger] is easier this year because he’s known me for a year, and Daniele [Paponi] has known me a long time. It’s important for us that the whole team – [Justin] Mapp, Felipe, Patrice, Andrea [Pisanu] – pass the ball well. As a forward, you know that when you find space, the ball will get to you once, twice, three times.”
  • After a one-match absence to suspension, Alessandro Nesta was reinserted back into central defense. The Impact allowed just one shot on target by the Dynamo.
  • “I’ve always said that even when Alessandro's 80 percent match fit, I’ll always play him, because he has such a positive effect on the players,” Schällibaum said. “His experience is extraordinary, and he gives back to the team on the field.”
  • Said defender Hassoun Camara: “We played a very solid game defensively. Having guys like Alessandro Nesta and Matteo Ferrari and even Jeb Brovsky provides a lot of consistency and faith in our back line and we know that we can defend the lead when we get one.”
  • Sanna Nyassi also returned to the starting lineup after missing the Columbus match while on international duty.
  • “He came back from national team duty and looked good in practice. He had a great big smile and was motivated and ready to go,”said Schällibaum. “We had some problems with Andres Romero and Justin Mapp with injuries, but I didn’t hesitate to go with Sanna because he’s been in good form.”
  • Daniele Paponi made his first start since April 27, and just his third league appearance of the season, while Andrea Pisanu also made his first start since April 27, his start of the MLS season.
  • “That’s the strength of this team. We don’t have just 11 players, we have a lot of good players in the lineup … a lot of depth. It’s very important for the future,”said Schällibaum. “If injuries occur, we have a lot of quality on the bench. Both guys played well. It’s the basis of this team.”

READ: Montreal Impact hope to deny Colorado any "glimmer of hope" as packed second half kicks off

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids saw their losing streak extended to three matches, falling 3-0 to the Portland Timbers on Sunday afternoon at Jeld-Wen Field. The Rapids are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 20 points from 17 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Timbers jumped into the lead in the 12th minute. Rodney Wallace broke free down the left flank off a quickly-taken restart and fired a cross into the box for Frederic Piquionne, whose header beat Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin to the top of the goal.
  • Portland struck again just before halftime when Wallace came down with a flicked-on goal kick, held the ball at the left corner of the box and found a charging Will Johnson. The Timbers captain popped the ball up in the air to get past the Colorado defense and then launched a left-footed shot past Irwin to the far corner.
  • Portland put the game away in the 84th minute when Ryan Johnson buried a Wallace cross into an open goal after a Rapids turnover high up the field.
  • Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made four changes to the team that suffered a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. German Mera came into the back four for Brian Mullan, and Hendry Thomas, Atiba Harris and Nick LaBrocca all came into the midfield for Jaime Castrillon, Martin Rivero and Edson Buddle.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Clint Irwin - Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, German Mera, Christopher Klute (Anthony Wallace 60) - Nathan Sturgis, Hendry Thomas (Tony Cascio 78) - Atiba Harris, Dillon Powers, Nick LaBrocca (Jaime Castrillon 62) - Deshorn Brown.

READ: With Pablo Mastroeni gone, Drew Moor takes captain's armband for Colorado Rapids

LAST MATCH

  • The Rapids saw their losing streak extended to three matches in the loss in Portland, their second match of a three-game road swing that concludes with the trip to Montréal.
  • “We have to accept that the effectiveness is not there for us,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said. “We get in there, we created chances, we put good soccer on the pitch, but at the end of the day, you have to score goals.”
  • The three goals conceded marked a season-high in league play for Colorado. The Rapids have now allowed nine goals over the last four games, after recording three shutouts in a four-game span May 4-25.
  • “We can’t be giving up three goals on three shots [on goal]. It’s down to the entire team as a unit,” said defender Drew Moor. “As a leader of the defense, I’m frustrated with it, but we got to try and put it behind us because it doesn’t get any easier from here for us.”
  • The Rapids were also held without a goal for the first time since April 20, when they were blanked 1-0 by Seattle.
  • “At the end of the day, we have to be able to score goals, because if we don’t, when you play a team like Portland that takes six shots and scores three goals, you’re not going to compete against that,” said Pareja. Added Moor: “It’s OK sometimes to not play well, but to still get results, which is something we did at times earlier in the year. We didn’t always play well, but we got results and I think that’s what it was about.”
  • German Mera made his first MLS start, coming into central defense alongside Moor with Marvell Wynne shifting to right back.
  • “The youth could have had an effect for sure, but I think German [Mera] did a good job,” said Pareja. “I think he came into the game today and showed a lot of personality, so certainly he is going to help us.”
  • After playing seven of the previous eight matches, the Rapids were again without Martín Rivero, after he had to come off after 55 minutes in the Chicago match. Rivero will miss the next couple of weeks with a thigh injury.