Coming off a 1-nil win over Toronto, the Montreal Impact come to CenturyLink Field on Saturday looking to do as LAFC did, steal points in Seattle. With their new coach there is not a lot of tape on the Impact, which could hamper preparation by Brian Schmetzer. But Schmetzer generally looks to establish his own identity for the Seattle Sounders, rather than react to the opposition. He’ll hope for his team to show that identity at home in a match that kicks off on JOEtv at 7 PM PT.
Both teams have a few injuries, though the Sounders are trending toward fewer injuries (with Morris being the season-long exception) while the Impact are starting to get injured during play. Seattle will be without Clint Dempsey due to his red card in the loss at Dallas.
Seattle and Toronto are the two sides yet to score a goal in MLS play, both fully defeated in their short early seasons. The Impact are 1-2-0 -1, scoring 4 goals and giving up 5 goals against.
Emily Santella from Mount Royal Soccer answers Three Questions. Questions were sent and answered on Thursday. There was no reverse.
SaH: Rémi Garde is emphasizing width in how Montreal plays. Who are the key players that make this work?
MtRS: New arrival Alejandro Silva, who will likely get his first start on Saturday, is going to be a key player in opening up the pitch for the Impact. With Nacho Piatti on the left, being as dominant as always, Silva on the right will allow the Impact to attack from both sides. Other than that, if Garde decides to play in a 3-5-2 again, Michael Petrasso (if healthy) and Daniel Lovitz will play big roles in supporting the attack and creating more opportunities. The support they can offer will allow key players such as Saphir Taider or Silva to be more offensive minded and provide more weapons to the Impact offence.
SaH: The defense is learning to move past the loss of Laurent Ciman. Has his replacement been found?
MtRS: Before the start of the season, Zakaria Diallo was expected to be the one to fill the shoes of “The General” but he was unfortunately injured in the week prior to the first game of the season. Jukka Raitala, acquired via the expansion draft, who evolved as a left-back in Columbus, was the temporary solution. While Raitala was decent considering his professional inexperience at centerback, it was obvious he was not a permanent solution. The Impact reacted extremely quickly with the signing of Rod Fanni, who played his first game against Toronto FC and ended up being a key player in the win. Fanni, filling in as leader of the defense, showed a lot of poise and awareness in his first game. If he plays every game like he did against Toronto FC, the Impact may have even found an improvement from Laurent Ciman.
SaH: How does former Sounders target Jeisson Vargas look?
MtRS: Jeisson Vargas is still establishing himself in the lineup and developing chemistry with the players around him. He was shuffled around in the first few games, from being on the right of the midfield to striker. While he was filling in for Matteo Mancosu as striker against Toronto FC, he proved to be quite a threat in that role. Other than his game winning goal, he linked up in multiple plays with Taider and Piatti that were very well executed. With the arrival of Alejandro Silva, who will likely play on the right of the midfield, it will be interesting to see where coach Rémi Garde decides to put Vargas; I wouldn’t be surprised to see him up front with Piatti again.
Projected lineup (5-3-2): Evan Bush; Michael Petrasso, Victor Cabrera, Rod Fanni, Jukka Raitala, Daniel Lovitz; Alejandro Silva, Samuel Piette, Saphir Taider; Ignacio Piatti, Jeisson Vargas.
Projected Sounders lineup (4-2-3-1): Stefan Frei; Nouhou, Tony Alfaro, Chad Marshall, Kelvin Leerdam; Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan; Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Nicolas Lodeiro, Handwalla Bwana; Will Bruin