Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire | MLS Match Preview

MONTREAL IMPACT vs CHICAGO FIRE
STADE SAPUTO, Montreal, Que.
Aug. 16, 2014 (WEEK 23, MLS Game #212)
6:30 p.m. ET (TSN2/RDS; My50 Chi)

A pair of clubs which need wins to start moving up the Eastern Conference table meet on Saturday evening when the Montreal Impact play host to the Chicago Fire at Stade Saputo. The Impact come into the match riding an seven-game losing skid in league play, following their 2-1 loss at Philadelphia Union, sitting at the foot of the division standings. The Fire find themselves just two points out of the final playoff position following a 1-0 home win against the New York Red Bulls last Sunday, though they were dumped out of the U.S. Open Cup at the semifinal stage at midweek.

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REFEREE: Kevin Stott. AR1 (bench): Brian Dunn; AR2 (opposite): Richard Gamache; 4th: Jose Carlos Rivero
MLS Career: 253 games; FC/gm: 25.5; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 61; pens: 62

SUSPENDED: MTL: Calum Mallace (through August 17)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: MTL: Matteo Ferrari, Karl Ouimette
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: MTL: Hernan Bernardello, Felipe Martins, Andres Romero, Dilly Duka, Krzysztof Krol … CHI: Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Mike Magee, Chris Ritter, Gonzalo Segares
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Impact 1 win, 8 goals … Fire 2 wins, 9 goals … Ties 3
AT MONTREAL: (3 meetings): Impact 1 win, 4 goals … Fire 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 2
FUTURE MATCH: 10/5: Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact, 4 p.m. CT

2014 (MLS):
4/27: MTL 1, CHI 1 (McInerney 43 – Amarikwa 54)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Montreal’s Jack McInerney and Chicago’s Quincy Amarikwa scored on either side of halftime as the teams played to a 1-1 draw April 12 at Stade Saputo.
  • The visiting team has never won in the series in six all-time meetings. The last two meetings at Toyota Park have ended in draws.
  • Coaches record: Frank Klopas vs. CHI: P1 W0 L0 T1 … Frank Yallop vs. MTL: P3 W0 L1 T2

LAST MEETING

  • The Impact took the lead in the 43rd minute. From the center of the field, Marco Di Vaio’s one-time pass released an onrushing Jack McInerney behind the Chicago defense, and he finished on the run past goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
  • But the Fire equalized in the 54th minute. A Jeff Larentowicz header off a Harrison Shipp corner bounced off the far post, but the ball fell to Mike Magee who hooked it with his left foot to Amarikwa, and he powered home from six yards out.
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-3-1-2): Troy Perkins - Eric Miller, Karl Ouimette, Matteo Ferrari, Heath Pearce (Hassoun Camara 46) - Justin Mapp, Collen Warner (Calum Mallace 85), Andres Romero (Patrice Bernier 46) - Felipe Martins - Marco Di Vaio, Jack McInerney.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Lovel Palmer, Bakary Soumare, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Greg Cochrane - Patrick Nyarko (Juan Luis Anangono 88), Jeff Larentowicz, Alex, Harry Shipp (Matt Watson 75) - Quincy Amarikwa, Mike Magee.

MONTREAL IMPACT
The Montreal Impact saw their league losing run stretched to seven games, falling 2-1 to Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at PPL Park. The Impact are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 14 points from 22 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Union took the lead after 12 minutes, capitalizing on an Impact defensive gaffe. After a long goal kick was sent nearly the length of the field, Montreal defender Krzysztof Krol tried to head the ball back to goalkeeper Troy Perkins. But Sebastien Le Toux pounced on the back pass, raced around Perkins and scored into an open goal.
  • The lead was doubled in the 63rd minute when Le Toux hit for his second. Andrew Wenger made a marauding run and found Le Toux outside the area on the right, and he danced around a couple of defenders before hitting a shot from the top of the box through traffic and past Perkins.
  • The Impact cut the lead in the 79th minute when Maxim Tissot redirected a long cross from the right from Andres Romero, but they could get no closer than that.
  • Impact head coach Frank Klopas made three changes to the team that fell 2-0 to Toronto FC at Stade Saputo. Wandrille Lefevre, Gorka Larrea and Felipe Martins came into the team, in place of Mamadou Danso, Marco Di Vaio and the suspended Hassoun Camara.
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Troy Perkins - Eric Miller, Wandrille Lefevre, Matteo Ferrari, Krzysztof Krol - Patrice Bernier, Gorka Larrea - Justin Mapp (Maxim Tissot 75), Felipe Martins (Dilly Duka 67), Andres Romero - Jack McInerney (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 67).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Impact saw their losing streak extended to seven games in the loss at Philadelphia. It the club’s longest losing skid since coming into MLS; the club's MLS record winless run is eight games, set over the last game of the 2013 season and first seven games this year.
  • “It’s like we can’t get a little bit of a break for the ball to go in. …  I know that you got to keep working and stay positive with the group,” said Impact head coach Frank Klopas. “That’s all I got and can do and say to really make a plan and evaluate every guy like I have from the beginning. See how those little things that aren’t going our way have to go our way. If it’s not this season, then next season.”
  • The Impact’s last two goals, over the last three games, have been scored by second-year Homegrown defender Maxim Tissot.
  • Anthony Jackson-Hamel and Dilly Duka each came on as a substitute for the final quarter of the match, each making their second consecutive appearance since joining the club, Jackson-Hamel signed as a Homegrown Player and Duka acquired in a trade with Chicago.
  • “I thought Jackson [-Hamel] came in and his ability higher up the field – he held the ball. He made good runs. He pressured well. And then Dilly [Duka], I know he’s a very good player. He got the ball in those pockets. He got a very good opportunity in the box. And Maxim [Tissot], I think he’s been on a high and doing well with all the games he’s been in. And he makes a great run on the weak side and gets himself a goal,” said Klopas. “It’s good to see the energy those guys brought and they definitely changed the game.”
  • The Impact also conceded multiple goals in a game for a sixth consecutive match, having allowed 15 goals in the last six games.
  • Gorka Larrea made his first start in league play since June 29, in a central midfield role, while Wandrille Lefevre made his first league start since June 11.
  • “Obviously, there are still a lot of games to play, but I’m also thinking about the moves and what we have to do in order to get better for next season,” Klopas said. “There’s some good pieces there, and we have to get better in certain areas. That’s what’s on my mind right now, because if I look at anything else, it’s mind-boggling how we lost this game.”
  • The Impact expect to have Designated Player Ignacio Piatti available for the Chicago match, after he completes his stint with Argentina’s San Lorenzo, who reached the Copa Libertadores final.
  • “I know he's committed. He's signed a long-term deal, and sometimes, little things, you say one thing and it gets blown out of proportion. But I met the guy when he came here, and he seemed very excited and eager,” Klopas said. “He’s been in contact with us all the way through. He watches the games all the time. I know he’s very excited to be here and to try to help the team. … We have to see, with the trip and everything, how he is. But I’m sure he’ll get minutes in that game.”

CHICAGO FIRE
The Chicago Fire extended their undefeated run to three matches, getting the game’s only goal for a win against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 25 points from 22 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came in the 38th minute. After referee Ted Unkel awarded a penalty kick, Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles saved the initial effort from Mike Magee. But the rebound fell perfectly for Magee, who passed into the open side of the goal.
  • Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was credited with four saves for the match, though he did not have to make one in the opening 45 minutes.
  • Fire head coach Frank Yallop made three changes to the team that reached a 1-1 tie with the Columbus Crew at Toyota Park. Bakary Soumare came into central defense in place of Patrick Ianni, and Razvan Cocis and Harry Shipp started in midfield in favor of Grant Ward and Chris Ritter.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Lovel Palmer (Grant Ward 88), Bakary Soumare, Jeff Larentowicz, Gonzalo Segares - Alex, Matt Watson, Razvan Cocis, Harry Shipp - Mike Magee (Logan Pause 88), Quincy Amarikwa.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Fire snapped a four-game winless run with the win against New York, their first league victory since July 12.
  • “I am proud of the guys and the way they have hung in there and made sure we haven’t sort of lost focus, we are not a bad side,” said Fire head coach Frank Yallop. “We are still growing and I think it is easier to throw the towel in and get complacent and turn on each other. The performance was a fighting, solid, really good home performance that deserved the win. I was really proud of our guys.”
  • For an eighth consecutive league match, the Fire scored one goal or fewer in the game. They have scored seven goals over that span, but allowed just nine - five of those in one game (July 23 at San Jose).
  • It’s about your performance and sometimes you’re on and sometimes you’re off. Sometimes you don’t defend well, sometimes you look dangerous. … [The] performance was a pretty even game but I think we edged it. I felt that we looked like we wanted to win it and that was good from our side,” said Yallop.
  • Added goalkeeper Sean Johnson: “In this league it’s never easy to get a shutout, we’ve been working on it. I think it shows a lot that in the past three games we’ve gotten two. We’ve really been working in training, both on and off the field to figure things out, and the guys are doing a fantastic job.”
  • Mike Magee scored for a second consecutive match, courtesy of penalty kick (knocking in the rebound after the initial attempt was saved). The Fire last scored a goal from open play on July 23, now 195 minutes since netting from run of play.
  • “The last two games, you know Mike is really starting to come into his own. He started to move around the field more like he can and how he plays,” said Yallop. “He’s had his injury problems; you know he’s had a sore calf. This week he has had days off. You know I am kind of feeling for him a bit. He’s not in tip-top shape for his body, but I think he has been playing pretty well.”
  • Harry Shipp made his return to the starting lineup after coming off the substitutes’ bench in each of the last two games, while Razvan Cocis made his first MLS and Fire start after coming on as a substitute in each of his first two appearances.
  • Bakary Soumare also returned to the Fire back four after missing the last two games.
  • “I felt that Razvan [Cocis] showed his class, he’s not quite at the top of his game but he played very well. Good 90 minutes of football, I thought. I put Bakary [Soumare] back in who was very solid and had a great game, I told him that. Harry [Shipp] has had his rest, bringing him back in was good,” Yallop said.
  • On Wednesday, the Fire fell short in their bid to return to the U.S. Open Cup Final, falling 6-0 to Seattle Sounders FC in the semifinal at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash. Andy Rose and Kenny Cooper each scored a pair of goals and Chad Barrett and Obafemi Martins also tallied for Seattle.
  • Here’s the Fire team: Sean Johnson, Gonzalo Segares, Jeff Larentowicz, Bakary Soumare, Lovel Palmer, Alex, Razvan Cocis (Logan Pause 73), Matt Watson (Chris Ritter 73), Grant Ward (Matthew Fondy 62), Harry Shipp, Quincy Amarikwa.