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GAME PREVIEW: Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire, playoff race, MLS schedule and more...

MONTREAL, CANADA - We're not in Montreal, guys... 
Can the Impact go on the road and get maximum points?
(Photo by Francois Laplante/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, CANADA - We're not in Montreal, guys... Can the Impact go on the road and get maximum points? (Photo by Francois Laplante/Getty Images)
Getty Images

The Montreal Impact travel to the Windy City for yet another do-or-die matchup as they chase a playoff berth. Time is running out for Jesse Marsch’s men who desperately need to cure their road blues and pick up maximum points as well as get lots of help from friendly results in other games. The Cinderella story continues for now...

Starting XI:

The main question surrounding the lineup for this game is whether or not Zarek Valentin will return to the starting lineup. Considering that Alessandro Nesta, Matteo Ferrari and Nelson Rivas are all healthy, rested and ready to go, it will be either Jeb Brovsky or Valentin who will be in the lineup, not both, as it is expected that Jesse Marsch will use a modified 3-5-2 formation for this game.

Probable starting lineup:

Troy Perkins

Matteo Ferrari – Nelson Rivas – Alessandro Nesta

Patrice Bernier - Collen Warner

Lamar Neagle - Jeb Brovsky


Davy ArnaudMarco Di Vaio

Standings (as of 14/09/2012): Anything can still happen!!

1. Sporting KC 50 points 27 GP

2. Chicago 47 points 27 GP

3. New York 46 points 27 GP

4. Houston 45 points 28 GP

5. Columbus 42 points 27 GP

6. DC United 41 points 27 GP

7. Montreal 39 points 29 GP

DC United set to bow out of the race?

While on international duty with Team Canada, DCU midfielder/leader/captain/MVP Dwayne De Rosario suffered a grade III MCL sprain. His injury may be too much for DC United to overcome and may remove them from the playoff race. Only time will tell.

Some good news...

We all know that TFC has been worthless when it comes to helping the Impact in their run to the playoffs. Luckily, TFC will not be implicated in any games that could influence Montreal’s playoff hopes for the next couple of weeks.

Please help us!! Here are the results we need to cheer for this weekend:

- Friday, September 14th at 8:30pm: SKC needs to beat Houston

- Saturday, Sept. 15th at 7:00pm: New York needs to beat Columbus

- Saturday, Sept. 15th at 7:30pm: New England needs to beat DC United

Does your passion still burn strong and bright?

The Impact haven’t played in two weeks. Their first game back from the break is on the road. They play at home next weekend against Sporting KC before taking another two weeks off. The question is... how will this affect the team’s fans and passion?

There doesn’t seem to be as a great a ‘buzz’ around this game as there was for other games before the break. The playoff fever seems to have been passed. Personally, I hope that team owner Joey Saputo can get together with the other owners to sit down with Don Garber and explain that this unbalanced schedule awful for the players, the playoff race as well as the fans.

The MLS needs to adapt a schedule inspired from the European leagues where all the teams play on ‘GAME DAYS’. For example, in Italy’s Serie A, most games are played on Saturdays or Sundays. Everyone plays. There is no such thing as a team that plays 3-4 games more than everyone else at any given point during the season.

My questions now are:

- What will the atmosphere be like next Saturday against KC at Saputo Stadium? Will it be a sold out mad house like we’ve been used to lately?

- Let’s say the Impact were to fall out of the playoff race over the next 2 games. With another 2 week break in the schedule, will anyone care about the remainder of the season or just start paying attention again next season?

- Do these breaks cause the Impact and other teams around the MLS to lose the ‘casual’ fan?

My passion still burns strong and bright... does yours??