Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact | MLS Match Preview

CHICAGO FIRE vs MONTRÉAL IMPACT
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
Sept. 28, 2013 (WEEK 31, MLS Game #284)
7:30 p.m. CT (My50 Chi; TVA)

A massive match in the Eastern Conference is ahead on Saturday evening when the Chicago Fire play host to the Montréal Impact at Toyota Park. The Fire come into their penultimate home game a point out of fifth place in the division and the final playoff spot, following their 3-0 loss at Columbus last weekend. The Impact have fallen to third in the East off back-to-back home losses, last a 3-0 defeat by Vancouver Whitecaps FC as they start a two-game road swing.

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REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Anthony Vasoli; AR2 (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Allen Chapman
MLS Career: 25 games; FC/gm: 23.5; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 10; pens: 6

DISABLED LIST: MTL: Adrian Lopez (season ending injury), Maximiliano Rodriguez
SUSPENDED: CHI: Bakary Soumare (through Sept. 29) … MTL: Felipe Martins (caution accumulation; through Sept. 29)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHI: Daniel Paladini, Bakary Soumare, Jeff Larentowicz, Gonzalo Segares … MTL: Jeb Brovsky, Hassoun Camara
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Jalil Anibaba, Mike Magee, Chris Rolfe, Dilly Duka … MTL: Patrice Bernier, Matteo Ferrari, Davy Arnaud, Marco Di Vaio
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Fire 2 wins, 6 goals … Impact 1 win, 5 goals … Ties 1
AT CHICAGO (2 meetings): Fire 2 wins, 5 goals … Impact 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 1

2013 (MLS)
4/27: MTL 2, CHI 0 (Romero 57; Di Vaio 76)
8/10: CHI 2, MTL 1 (Lindpere 6; Duka 23 – Martins 57)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Joel Lindpere and Dilly Duka scored early as the Fire held on for a 2-1 win Aug. 10 at Toyota Park; Andres Romero and Marco Di Vaio scored second-half goals to lead the Impact to a 2-0 victory April 27 at Stade Saputo.
  • The Fire have won both meetings all-time at Toyota Park.
  • The Impact played the first home game in the club’s MLS history vs. Chicago, attracting a crowd of 58,912 to Olympic Stadium last March 17 (the 18th-largest in league history) for a 1-1 draw.
  • Coaches record: Frank Klopas vs. MTL: P4 W2 L1 T1 … Marco Schallibaum vs. CHI: P2 W1 L1 T0

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • The Fire took the lead in the sixth minute. A deflected ball fell to Joel Lindpere just outside the penalty area, and he drove a shot goalward that deflected off of forward Daniele Paponi and beat Troy Perkins inside the near post.
  • A persistent effort from Dilly Duka gave the Fire a 2-0 lead in the 23rd minute. Duka gathered the ball 40 yards away from goal and dribbled to the corner of the box, where the ball was poked away and deflected back to the Fire midfielder, who then rolled the ball into the lower corner.
  • The Impact pulled a goal back in the 57th minute when substitute Felipe scored from just outside the penalty area, driving a pass from Sanna Nyassi first-time into the lower corner from outside the area.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Bakary Soumare, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares - Dilly Duka (Chris Rolfe 71), Jeff Larentowicz, Logan Pause, Joel Lindpere - Alex (Daniel Paladini 63), Juan Luis Anangono (Quincy Amarikwa 76).
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-3-3): Troy Perkins - Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta, Jeb Brovsky - Davy Arnaud (Marco Di Vaio 55), Patrice Bernier, Hernan Bernardello (Felipe Martins 55) - Justin Mapp, Daniele Paponi, Sanna Nyassi (Andres Romero 74).

CHICAGO FIRE
The Chicago Fire went down to defeat on the road, falling 3-0 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Fire are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 39 points from 29 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Crew opened the scoring on the quarter-hour. Federico Higuain came away from a scrum with possession and found Jairo Arrieta, whose lunging toe poke put Dominic Oduro into space. He then struck a low shot toward the far post that got past Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
  • The Fire suffered a major blow in the 29th minute when Arrieta chased down a deflected ball near midfield that flew over the heads of the Chicago defense. Bakary Soumare chased down late, taking out Arrieta's heels just outside the box, and earning a red card from referee Juan Guzman.
  • In the 70th minute, the Crew extended their lead to 2-0 thanks to another foul on Arrieta. This time he beat Johnson to a perfect through ball from Tony Tchani and was taken down in the box. Higuain sent Johnson the wrong way on the resulting spot kick.
  • Columbus added an insurance goal seven minutes later when Tchani found Bernardo Anor on a diagonal ball into the right side of the area that he slotted under Johnson and into the net.
  • Fire head coach Frank Klopas made two changes to the team that came back for a 3-2 victory against the New England Revolution at Toyota Park. Alex and Dilly Duka came into wide midfield roles in place of Patrick Nyarko and Joel Lindpere.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Bakary Soumare (ejected 29), Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares (Joel Lindpere 80) - Alex (Patrick Nyarko 59), Jeff Larentowicz, Arevalo Rios, Dilly Duka (Chris Rolfe 70) - Juan Luis Anangono, Mike Magee.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Fire saw their road winless streak extended to four matches, and have won just one game overall in their last five contests. Three of the Fire’s final four games are on the road, following the meeting with Montréal this weekend.
  • “We were coming from behind. Really, we pushed the game. We had chances to tie the game and it doesn’t go your way and then they got a PK. … The team left everything on the field. I feel good about the group. We have to regroup and get ready for next week,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas.
  • The Fire were also shut out at the attacking end for the first time since Aug. 17, a 2-0 loss to New England, and just their second offensive shutout over the last 19 league games.
  • “You knew last week was great, it was a good feeling to reflect on where we come from, but everybody knows it's far from over, just ask Columbus,” midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said. “This is crunch time. This is the time that matters the most, and we have to approach each game that way. The soccer may not always be there, but the things we can control – our attitude, our communication, the way we stick together during tough times – is kind of what gets you through these stretches.”
  • After coming off the substitutes’ bench the week before, Alex returned to the starting lineup in a wide midfield role.
  • Dilly Duka also returned to the first team, his seventh start in the last eight matches, after coming off the substitutes’ bench against New England.
  • Juan Luis Anangono started his second consecutive match in attack, partnering Mike Magee, and Chris Rolfe came off the substitutes’ bench for the final 20 minutes after not featuring against New England.
  • “We hit the posts, we hit the crossbar, we got opportunities – overall though we were just not good enough,” Larentowicz said. “But in the end we have five more games left and we’re right there. We have been in this spot before. We knew it was going to be a tough road game coming in, but we have games to play and there is going to be more opportunities.”
  • With Bakary Soumare suspended following his expulsion, Klopas has not indicated whether Jeff Larentowicz or Hunter Jumper will slot into central defense. After Soumare was sent off, Larentowicz filled the spot in Columbus.
  • “I'll try both in training,” Klopas said. “When we went down with the red card, down 1-0, we knew that Jeff could play that, and we had the players on the field where, instead of bringing in another defender in, we could move things around, we could push the game and try to get a goal back.”

MONTREAL IMPACT
The Montréal Impact went down to a second consecutive home defeat, falling 3-0 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday afternoon at Stade Saputo. The Impact are in third place in the Eastern Conference with 45 points from 28 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Whitecaps FC put a nose in front in the seventh minute. After Nigel Reo-Coker sent in a cross from the right, Impact right back Hassoun Camara slipped in the penalty area and handled the ball. From the resulting penalty kick, Kenny Miller converted low to goalkeeper Troy Perkins’ right.
  • The visitors broke the open with two very late goals through substitute Camilo Sanvezzo. First, on the counterattack in the 89th minute, he squeezed a shot at the far post and just past Perkins.
  • Camilo completed his brace two minutes later, running onto a ball hoofed out of the Whitecaps end and finding a pocket of space on the edge of the area before curling a beauty in the top right corner.
  • Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum made one change to the team that fell 2-1 to the Columbus Crew at Stade Saputo. Andres Romero came back into the team in place of Collen Warner.
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Troy Perkins - Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta, Jeb Brovsky - Davy Arnaud (Daniele Paponi 71), Patrice Bernier - Justin Mapp, Felipe Martins (Blake Smith 81), Andres Romero (Andrew Wenger 63) - Marco Di Vaio.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Impact have lost back-to-back games at Stade Saputo for the first time this season, following a five-game home undefeated run. The trip to Chicago begins a stretch of four road games out of the final six to conclude the regular season.
  • “We started off the game well and then had to adjust our game after that unlucky penalty shot," said Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum. “In the first half we had troubles getting into those last 20 meters. In the second half, we had lots of opportunities; we pushed a lot and tried hard. I think we were closer to a tie at the beginning of the second half, but with these goals, it came down to a hard loss for the team.”
  • The Impact were also shut out on their home ground in a league game for the first time since a scoreless draw with FC Dallas on July 20.
  • “We didn't play well today. This is the third game that we haven't performed to our standards and we need to react better on the field,” said Marco Di Vaio. “We cannot continue this way so we have to start thinking about our play. The first half we didn't play well and we didn't have a lot of opportunities.”
  • Said goalkeeper Troy Perkins: “It was an ugly game all around. Toward the end of the season every team needs points and we certainly need to play better than we did today.”
  • Andres Romero returned to the starting lineup for the first time in three matches, coming into a wide midfield role.
  • On Tuesday, the Impact defeated Guatemalan side CD Heredia 2-0 in the CONCACAF Champions League at Stade Saputo, behind goals by forwards Daniele Paponi and Andrew Wenger. Despite the victory, the Impact were eliminated from the competition on goal differential.
  • Here’s the Impact team: Evan Bush; Karl W. Ouimette, Hassoun Camara, Wandrille Lefèvre, Maxim Tissot; Collen Warner, Felipe (Blake Smith 80'), Sanna Nyassi (Marco Di Vaio 57'), Andrea Pisanu (Justin Mapp 66');
  • “Our foundations were good. [Daniele] Paponi went 100 miles an hour. Scoring will give him confidence. [Andrew] Wenger was heroic. He held the ball up a lot, and scored as well. The game will give confidence to a number of players ahead of our last six [MLS] games,” said Schällibaum.