MONTREAL – The Impact’s MLS adventure began with a five-game winless start in 2012. They matched it with last Saturday’s 2-2 draw against the New York Red Bulls, but not for lack of effort: 12 shots on Luis Robles's goal brought their on-target average to a league-leading 6.8 per game.
On the flip side, Montreal have conceded more than any team in MLS bar Chivas USA and Portland. But they feel that this week of preparation increases their chances of finding the balance that could earn them three points instead of one this Saturday against the – also winless – Chicago Fire (4 pm ET, MLS Live).
“I think that we’ve got a better understanding of where we’re vulnerable,” left back Heath Pearce told reporters on Thursday. “I think that we’ve outplayed teams this year, but mistakes seem to be, at times, fatal mistakes. We seem to get punished hard for them.”
They certainly thought they were last Saturday; the Red Bulls scored their second as RDS was interviewing head coach Frank Klopas, prompting him to assess that the two mistakes his team made that cost them two goals.
With Klopas praising former club Chicago’s pacey transition game this week, it's no wonder the focus has been on “eliminating the mistake that kills us," as Pearce put it.
“We had a ton of chances last game,” Pearce said. “We controlled the flow of the game. We had the majority of possession. We opened them up well. But then, our reactions, how we defend, how we get behind the ball, those are the things we’ve worked on this week.”
Pearce’s insistence on opting for the term “vulnerabilities” instead of “issues” indicated that there’s no panic yet in the Impact camp. But you can still feel a healthy sense of urgency swelling.
“The season is long, but it’s now that we have to win,” midfielder Felipe said. “After five games, this is the time to win. It’s the perfect time to win in front of our fans, in our home. We’ve worked hard for this, and for sure, this Saturday, we’re going to get three points.”