MONTREAL – Another attendance record in Montreal? Don’t bet against it.
The Impact announced on Thursday that they were putting an additional 1,000 tickets on sale for Saturday’s game against the LA Galaxy (4 pm ET, TSN/RDS in Canada, watch LIVE online), hours after the club confirmed that only 5,000 tickets were left for the encounter.
Such a decision indicates that the all-time attendance record for a professional soccer game in Montreal – set on March 17 as the Impact drew 1-1 with the Chicago Fire in front of 58,912 fans – could be topped yet again a mere two months after Impact president Joey Saputo’s dream of breaking a 31-year-old record was realized.
Theoretically, Saturday’s crowd could now reach 60,000, and the club is advising fans to arrive at the Olympic Stadium at least an hour in advance. Impact spokesmen would not confirm any further figures during training on Thursday, but kindly invited reporters to “do the math.”
The first-ever visit to Montreal by David Beckham’s Galaxy is certainly a factor in the impressive figures, and Montreal head coach Jesse Marsch is well-aware of that fact. He does feel, however, that Saturday’s game will be an opportunity to show Montreal supporters how much his team has grown.
“The last time we had 60,000 was like the coming-out party of our team,” Marsch told reporters. “Now I think our team’s moved along more, and it’s a more accurate representation of who we are. I expect us to be sharp and ready to go.”
Sharp and ready to go is probably not a good description of the Impact team which lost 2-0 to Toronto at BMO Field on Wednesday, eliminating them from the Amway Canadian Championship, and the whole squad will be looking to make amends against the Galaxy. While the players admit the loss was still stinging the next day, they also believe the timing of their return to MLS action is a great chance to get back on track.
“We lost, but now that we’re out of the Cup, we have to move on,” midfielder Patrice Bernier said. “MLS is all that’s left for us. We had been doing well, but now we won’t have a chance to make the ACC final or the CONCACAF Champions League. We have to concentrate on the next game, and we're lucky it's coming fast. We can switch things around right away.”