MONTREAL – It’s good to have something to hang on to in difficult moments.
Despite their lamentable 2013 MLS season, D.C. United clinched their third US Open Cup in club history. Likewise, this season’s Impact have struggled but remain in the running for the Amway Canadian Championship.
But whereas D.C. United pulled off the upset, the Impact risk being the victim of one in this Wednesday’s ACC semifinal second leg against FC Edmonton (7:30 pm ET, FREE STREAM in the US and Mexico, Sportsnet One in Canada), who are coming to Montreal with a 2-1 lead in the aggregate series.
“We’ve got to come out with energy, intensity, enthusiasm,” head coach Frank Klopas told reporters on Monday. “We're playing at home, with an opportunity to be in the final, playing in front of our fans. We’ve got to come out and press the game from the start.”
Edmonton, after all, will have free rein to play their game. Michael Nonni’s stoppage-time winner in the first leg denied Montreal the score draw that would have put the onus on their opponents to score an away goal of their own.
But Edmonton can now try to protect their lead, defend deep and play quickly from back to front, which is what Montreal expected in the first place when they learned they'd face them in the semis.
“On Wednesday, we’ll go out there to win and score as many as we can, because it'll be the only solution and it may produce the idea that will get us through these bad moments,” defender Hassoun Camara said.
While Camara called for patience against Edmonton, an early goal would change the entire complexion of the game. Of course, 1-0 would suffice for Montreal to progress, but most importantly for them, it would force Edmonton to come out and look for goals as well, opening up valuable space for Montreal to pounce on as they try to put the tie away.
“It may be a blessing in disguise to have to break them down on Wednesday and build on that going forward,” Camara said. “I’m not worried at all. I’m very confident that we’ll turn this game around. I’m sure.”