The Impact will have to beat the Vancouver Whitecaps twice at BC Place, beginning Sunday (9:30 pm ET | TSN1, TVA Sports in Canada; MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US) and make up a three-goal differential to overtake Toronto FC.
But Impact coach Thierry Henry said his club’s focus should be squarely on three points tonight, nothing else.
“We just need to have the desire to win the matches. Then, generally, the goals will come,” he said in French in a conference call with reporters. “We also must earn the three points for the league standings. Going there carefree trying to win 3-0, 4-0 or 5-0… or just trying to score the 2-0 and finally be countered and tying 1-1… You first must win the game, then, try to score more goals, but there is another team trying to prevent it. Whoever you face – don’t forget that there is an opponent – you first must win the game. That’s the most important.”
Montreal have already beaten the Whitecaps in the restart of the season — a 2-0 victory at Stade Saputo on August 25.
However, that was in the midst of Vancouver’s three-game losing streak to their Canadian foes, snapped last Saturday with a 3-2 victory over Toronto FC in their first of three consecutive games at BC Place.
While they’re not in contention for a spot in the CanChamp final, the Whitecaps are desperate for points in the league standings. That is also at stake for the Impact, which is why goalkeeper Clement Diop doesn't believe there is anything extra to tonight's tilt.
“There’s no extra weight for the game on Sunday. When you step on the field obviously you always want to win, you’re always trying your best to win the game,” he said. “Obviously we know we need two wins with goals to finish on top.
“We are going into this game we know we need to win and we’re going to do our best to win the game. But I don’t think there is extra weight because it is really important as well for the league to get points.”
As for those much-needed goals, Henry knows better than most what it takes to find them.
“It’s a matter of repetition, of being in the situations, of belief. For example, Sam (Piette) has an extraordinary opportunity, receiving a great pass from Rudy (Camacho)," Henry said. "If he lets the ball go, he can run alone towards the goal. He was not able to recognize the moment. But Rome was not built in one day. We must try to continue, and the players should be aware of what they can do in such a system. When questions can be asked, when you can be unhappy, is when you don’t create chances. We create chances. Of course, we must complete them. When you look at the game in Toronto, we had a lot of nice plays, and it happened here too. They also had scoring opportunities, let’s not fool ourselves, some things must be erased too.”