Browse the Montreal Impact’s Twitter mentions on Tuesday, and one plea sticks out: “Give us the lineup!”
Alas, they won’t. In a mere week, Montreal are playing the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal tie against Pachuca, and they’re not about to give away clues. The Twitter feed won’t, and head coach Frank Klopas won’t.
After Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Cruz Azul, with the Mexican team fielding a mix of first-team and reserve players, Klopas only divulged his satisfaction at the number of chances created, his players’ fine movement with the ball and the progress made from game to game. He has one more scrimmage, on Wednesday against Mexican third-division club Cuautla FC, to figure out what his CCL lineup will be.
“We had a good idea, with the players on the field that started today, we tried to get close to [the lineup in] the game against Pachuca,” Klopas told reporters by phone from Mexico City. “But we’re still trying to evaluate some things from today’s game and also tomorrow’s with certain guys.”
It appears that Klopas will have the vast majority of his options to choose from. Montreal flew into Mexico with next to no injuries; right back Hassoun Camara injured his ankle during the first phase of preseason at the Olympic Stadium, but he has started to train again and even played some minutes against Cruz Azul.
“Some guys are under the weather a little bit with how their systems deal with the altitude,” Klopas said. “But as far as injuries on the field go, nothing here other than what we already had coming in.”
Tuesday’s game could have complicated matters. Klopas described it as “tough,” with Montreal forward Jack McInerney and a Cruz Azul opponent both seeing red late on.
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The referee also called two penalty kicks, both saved, against the Impact – which is probably good preparation for CCL anyhow.
“The calls they gave that team, it was like the wind blowing and players falling down with no contact at all,” Klopas said. “It is what it is. You go into situations where calls don’t go your way and you have to deal with it. We did.”