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Impact vs Columbus Crew: Q & A with Massive Report

The Montreal Impact will be looking to pick up three points on Saturday evening when they face the Columbus Crew at Mapfre Stadium.

Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Impact will be squaring off against the Columbus Crew for the second time this season on  Saturday evening. When the two teams met back in April at Olympic Stadium, the Impact came away with a 2-0 victory; thanks to goals from Hassoun Camara and Kyle Bekker. With the Crew still looking to find their stride in MLS this season and the Impact going through some injury troubles at the moment, three points on Saturday could act as a turning point going into May.

Mount Royal Soccer has turned towards our friends at Massive Report to get some perspective from the other side.

1. This will be the second time these two teams meet in 2016. Are the Crew in a better place than they were back in early April?

They are in a better place, but not a good place. That 2-0 loss in Montreal was the end of a rough stretch of games where Crew SC played four of its first five games on the road, and against good teams. The team followed that up with two wins at home before last weekend's 1-0 loss at the Seattle Sounders. The Black & Gold weren't happy to lose last week's game at the death and were disappointed with their second half performance. I believe they will be fired up for this game.

With that said, I'm not sure what that means for the club right now. It obviously hasn't been the start fans in town thought for the Eastern Conference champs. So far, the offense is in a big rut. Chances are being created, but finishing is an issue. Fans thought that was done after a 3-2 win over New York City FC, but two games with a one goal between them since then have proven that to be false.

2. The Crew have a much better record at home than on the road. What is the difference between how this team shapes up at Mapfre Stadium as opposed to when they play on the road?
Nothing. That's why the road record is so perplexing. Gregg Berhalter was asked about this fact this week and he said he just thinks the team isn't finishing games on the road. They've give up late goals at Portland, Dallas, and Seattle. If they don't do that, it's five more points in the standings at the least.

Berhalter is very big on playing the same home or away and dictating the team's style to the opponent. It doesn't always work (obviously) but despite the record, the team is playing the same home and away.

3. If you had to select one key to the game for the Crew beating the Impact this weekend what would it be?
Scoring first. That first goal has been so important for the Black & Gold during the Berhalter era. With the way Crew SC play, possessing the ball and looking to get players forward, an early goal means the opposition can't sit back and look to counter. They have to come out and play and that opens the game up for what Berhalter wants his team to do.

In this one, a goal in the first 15 minutes would be huge for Columbus. Not just for the reason mentioned above, but just for confidence. When they scored early against NYCFC, the players fed off that confidence, despite conceding shortly after, and went on to win the game. Putting the pressure on the Impact from early on and getting that opening goal would be huge.

Lineup:
Steve Clark
Harrison Afful-Michael Parkhurst-Tyson Wahl-Waylon Francis
Ethan Finlay-Mohammed Saeid-Wil Trapp-Justin Meram
Federico Higuain
Kei Kamara

*A big thanks to Patrick Murphy at Massive Report for taking the time to contribute to this article.