MONTREAL – At last the Montreal Impact can build steady momentum. That is if they don't keel over from exhaustion first.
The Colorado Rapids' visit to Saputo Stadium on Saturday (7 pm ET, Univision Deportes) will split the Impact’s season into two halves of contrasting pace. Whereas Montreal twiddled their thumbs during two 14-day breaks and three 10-day breaks during the first half of the season, the second will provide them with at least one game in each of the remaining 18 weeks of the campaign.
The 24 MLS and CONCACAF Champions League fixtures forthcoming will challenge Montreal differently than the second half of last season’s schedule, during which the handful of extended breaks came at the price of playing just two home games in the final two months. But far from being an intimidating challenge, it seems to be a stirring one for the Impact squad.
“The schedule is good, better than last year’s,” midfielder Felipe told reporters on Thursday. “We had a hard schedule for a team in its first season. But we are happy with this schedule, and it doesn’t matter who we play, where and how we play. We just want to play, get three points and keep going this way to achieve what we want.”
In order to start picking up momentum straightaway, Montreal will want to avoid the mistakes they made in their 3-2 away loss to Oscar Pareja’s side last May. Theoretically bolstered by an 11-v-10 advantage from minute 61 onwards, the Impact were appalled when, a mere seven minutes before full time, Jaime Castrillón nodded the winner in.
After that game, Patrice Bernier remarked that “we gave them a chance to punish us” despite Colorado facing the bulk of the adversity in the match. Like Tyrone Marshall’s red card in 2012, the three consecutive losses the Rapids are currently on could create a false sense of security for Montreal.
Bernier, though, is having none of that.
“We don’t want to be the team that lets them see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Bernier said. “We’ll be at home, we want to hold our position and we have to start this game like we started the last home games. We struggled a bit in the second half, we defended a bit more, but we’ll have to dominate the game from start to finish. We must start positively, with lots of energy, and not offer them a glimmer of hope for a result.”