MONTREAL – The Impact must go one step further this time.
After losing 1-0 in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Montreal have been shut out four times in last five games – and they tied the other, 2-2, against the Chicago Fire. But a draw won’t do against the Philadelphia Union, this Saturday (2 pm ET, MLS Live), as Montreal would then have to rely on favorable results elsewhere this weekend and likely the next to clinch what at one point seemed like a certain postseason berth.
They want to score, they want to win, and they want to clinch that playoff spot; a win against Philadelphia coupled with a New England draw or loss versus Columbus would do the trick.
And despite the recent goal drought, head coach Marco Schällibaum is positive that his players can set themselves free offensively this weekend. Sometimes, he says, all it takes is one tentative shot somehow making it to the back of the net.
“The players make me feel confident,” Schällibaum told reporters on Friday. “We played a good game on Wednesday, but we didn't score and we need to score to win. That's how it is. But I can see they're really focussed. They know the situation is tricky, but even today, it's all in our hands still.”
Philadelphia, meanwhile, are tied with Montreal and Chicago on 46 points and hold limited control over their playoff chances due to having notched one fewer win than their rivals – the first tiebreak in the MLS standings. On Saturday, they will be without Michael Farfan, suspended, and might not be able to count on MLS assist co-leader Sébastien Le Toux, who is injured.
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Playing a desperate team, Jeb Brovsky said, is “always dangerous,” all the more so with young Union phenom Jack McInerney ending his personal scoring drought last weekend. But Montreal are similarly looking for an revitalizing win.
“I imagine the game will open up at some point, and they’ll certainly want to fly forward with their outside backs and their fast wingers,” said Brovsky, who declared himself available for selection on Saturday. “But at this point, it’s all about passion and who wants it more. We know what each team is going to bring technically and tactically. It’s about who’s willing to put that foot forward and go as hard as they can.”