MONTREAL – When asked about the Montreal Impact's performance midweek, head coach Marco Schällibaum likened his group to an entirely different vocation.
“[Wednesday], they really showed what we’ve aspired to for weeks,” Schällibaum told reporters on Thursday. “We’re like artists: We work during the week and then reveal what we can do on stage on Saturday and Wednesday.”
The Montreal Impact were unstoppable in the 6-0 drubbing they gave Toronto FC on Wednesday in the Amway Canadian Championship. But they now have to take this ruthlessness to the MLS stage, and they’ll have to throw some prudence in there as well when they face the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium this Saturday afternoon (4 pm ET, watch on MLS Live).
The Earthquakes could prove as threatening as Montreal’s wounded tiger that bounced back against TFC. Winless since March 23, San Jose will see an opportunity in this Impact team that will play its fourth game in 11 days. The show Montreal put on against TFC was a blockbuster they’ll want to build on, but the cast will change on Saturday as Schällibaum expects to make three of four changes to his lineup from Wednesday.
Yet not only has the midweek win given Montreal a berth for the ACC final, it has also given Schällibaum interesting attacking options. Both Justin Mapp and Andrew Wenger opened their 2013 account against TFC, and more and more players are getting into decent runs of form that could spur the Impact on and facilitate squad rotation.
“You always must confirm the previous result,” Schällibaum said. “You can’t stop. Otherwise you stay still when you must always move forward. That’s why I say that with me, there are no risks: I know how fast things go in football, and we must do everything to stay on top.”
Apparently, the message has been understood.
“We’re going back to league play, and [the TFC game] must not be a full stop at the end of a sentence, only a comma,” midfielder Patrice Bernier said. “It has to be a starting point, not a stopping point.”