We sat (virtually of course) over our preferred beverages and exchanged questions, mockeries , recipes (secret of poutines for the secret of KC BBQ) and such. The Montreal Impact are going into ennemy territory against a team that has found a winning momentum very quickly and efficiently. A new-look defence composed of Nelson Rivas - Hassoun Camara will face a dangerous trio of Kei Kamara , C.J. Sapong and Bobby Convey.
For the n-th time, the Montreal Impact will need to be totally unified and solid defensively , be precise in their passing and efficient to have a chance to get the 3 points. More than often, you would read a trashing of the Impact by the opposing team but outside the accident in NY, this has not happened as much as many other observers wanted. But this time is different as Montreal will face a well oiled machine while fielding players with no MLS experience in key positions. Jesse Marsch has always conveyed his confidence in every player of the squad and his ability to come in and deliver as expected. There are obvious doubts on the effectiveness of players coming off injuries and time on the bench but Jesse Marsch has not really given any ammunitions to disprove of him and his tactics. At the end, it's all about the learning experience of the team from the top to the bottom and no matter who plays, this will be a very interesting game.
1. A lot of talk has been around Sporting Kansas City's offense with the like of Kei Kamara and C.J. Sapong ( 12 goals scored in 8 games), but a lot of SKC's strong start of the season must go to the defense. How would you describe SKC`s defensive squad ( back four + GK) and the defensive play of the team as a unit?
Defensively, in my opinion Sporting KC is unparalleled to any team in league. Not only does Sporting KC have great quality in their back 5 but they also have extreme consistency. All four of the defenders and goalkeeper have started and played together consecutively for nearly the past 15 games(that streak will be broken though when Michael Harrington steps in for the injured Seth Sinovic this weekend). The consistency obviously helps them maintain their organization and be able to move together as a unit. The two full backs are Chance Myers and Sinovic, who like to get forward, while the two center backs are Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler. Collin usually ends up grabbing the headlines while Besler tidies up after Collin who can be lured into silly challenges sometimes.
2. Since the Davy Arnaud - Seth Sinovic trade, it seems that both team have fared will in the aftermath of that trade. Looking at SKC's recent form, was Davy Arnaud a big piece for SKC? Was the transition of his potential departure already setup in advance? He is loved in Montreal with his passion, fierceness and his will to attack. How was he at SKC?
When Davy left over the off season a lot of people in KC were distraught. While he was mostly sidelined to the bench in 2011 with the emergence of Graham Zusi and Roger Espinoza in the midfield, he was a serviceable midfielder and was so close to becoming the club's first one club player, our very own Paolo Maldini. But looking back on the whole thing you kind of knew the trade had been coming, a new group of players was coming through, a younger group with fresh, talented legs. I guess Davy just didn't fit into the plans...But yeah I definitely think the move was planned, deep down both Davy and Peter probably knew his time in KC was just about up.
In Kansas City he played in the center of midfield during his later years while during his rookie campaigns he saw extensive time as RM and even at a second striker role or CF, similar to what he plays in now for Montreal.
3. SKC could be strong on paper and on the field but all team has its weaknesses. What weaknesses has coach Peter Vermes identitifed (if he did) and which ones do you see?
The one weakness I see would probably have to be the left wing. As good a player as Bobby Convey is he is simply no replacement for Omar Bravo who adapted very well to SKC's high pressure system last year after his move from Chivas Guadalajara. Bobby on the other hand has not adapted quickly enough and seems lost at times on the left wing. Other than that Sporting KC(and I'm trying not to be biased here) is probably the most well rounded team in the league. These are the golden years in KC, and we're enjoying every minute of them.