MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact rediscovered their defensive prowess last week with two clean sheets to drop back under the symbolic two-goals-conceded-per-game mark.
Following a scoreless draw at Vancouver and a 3-0 thumping of the Houston Dynamo, Montreal will look to make it three straight shutouts on the road Saturday against Chivas USA (10:30 pm ET; MLS Live), a team whose scoring numbers are far from scary with 16 goals in 16 games.
“We have to remain serene and humble,” Impact defender Hassoun Camara told reporters on Thursday. “Just because it’s been going better doesn’t mean we’ll get there as superheroes, thinking it’s going to be easy. That's not true. Every game's difficult.”
Chivas’ defense is on the rise as well, with two shutout wins – both by a 1-0 scoreline – since the World Cup break ended. It makes the trip to the West Coast all the more challenging for Montreal.
But Montreal feel increasingly able to deny opposition space the way they’ve wanted to since the beginning of the season. It will certainly come in handy against in-form Chivas USA striker Erick "Cubo" Torres, who became MLS’ top Mexican-born scorer last Saturday with a stupendous volley against Real Salt Lake and added another in San Jose four days later.
“It’s good to see the efforts that are made, even in front of us,” Camara said. “When you see [winger Andres] Romero, for example, tracking back really, really well, it makes us defenders want to strive even more to protect our net and keep a clean sheet.”
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Assistant coach Mauro Biello believes that being able to field three experienced defenders in the backline after injury worries has raised the entire team’s level. Consistency at the back is thus expected.
“What’s important is to play well defensively because we know that we have pieces up front that can create problems for the other team,” Biello told reporters.