MONTREAL -- Beyond the three points, the Montreal Impact’s objective Sunday is crystal-clear: erecting a new brick wall in front of the net.
There is no anxiety brewing among Marco Schällibaum’s squad, but the seven goals conceded in a loss to Colorado and a tie in Toronto have served as a reminder that balance between defense and attack is required. As they get set to welcome Chivas USA at Stade Saputo on what promises to be a sweltering Sunday night (7 pm ET, watch on MLS Live), Montreal hope to stifle an opponent which Schällibaum, based on the Goats’ 0-0 draw at Dallas on Thursday, expects to be “organized and offensively sharp.”
“We can do better tactically as a group,” added defender Hassoun Camara. “If we drop back as soon as we lose the ball and regroup like we used to do earlier, we’ll be even more efficient. Maybe we’d score less, but the games would be tighter and we’d pick up more points. We shouldn’t panic, quite the contrary.”
Though Chivas USA have only scored 15 times in 17 games in 2013, Montreal know better than to rely on stats. Toronto hadn’t scored three goals in a game this season before Wednesday, and what happened in that first half is there for all to see.
“We can’t question everything,” Marco Schällibaum said. “We’re still first in the Conference. We’ve had a very good season so far, and I can tell you that winning games in MLS is not easy. There’s no team that’s really worse than the others. That’s why we’ll need to work very hard to win against Chivas.”
In their last win (2-0 over Houston on June 19), Montreal were not “that solid defensively,” according to goalkeeper Troy Perkins. But he does feel that his teammates and him can still build on that redeeming second half in Toronto and make Chivas “play the way we want them to play.”
“I think that, moving forward, we have a good feeling about ourselves and this is a good chance for us to solidify the defensive third,” Perkins said.