There are probably two places a travelling Impact fan should not go to watch his team in regular season play if he wants to return a winner. The stand-out destination is Red Bull Arena, where the Bleu/Blanc/Noir has a 100% losing record, but trips to Texas have been almost equally unproductive.
Whether facing FC Dallas or Houston, Impact generally return home empty-handed. But for a 1-1 tie at BBVA Compass Stadium, way back in 2012, every trip to the Lone Star State has resulted in defeat. That’s 10 defeats in 11 matches! And a goal differential of 7 for and 25 against! There’s also the ill-fated play-off game of 2013 thrown in there, a 0-3 defeat to Houston, in which Romero and Di Vaio were each dismissed.
Not good reading if you’re a Montreal fan. And not any positive omens there, to take into this Saturday evening’s visit to FC Dallas.
Coach Remi Garde will be hoping last weekend’s positive result instils confidence, as Impact seeks that turning point to finally kick-start their season. Winning is a habit, and now would be a great time to start! Of last week’s victory, the coach said -
”I saw a complete investment from my players tonight. It’s a great win and I’m happy for my players, who took a lot of effort in this game. We were in a difficult time. I would not say we’re gone, but in terms of trust, this is a very important step we took tonight.”
The only other time Impact kept a clean sheet at home his season, they immediately followed up with another, at Seattle. This however, will be difficult in Dallas, where the home side are unbeaten in 14, and where Montreal has not managed to avoid defeat in three previous visits, conceding 2, 3 and 2 in sequence.
Rudy Camacho is likely to return to replace Jukka Raitala, off on international duty with Finland ….
”The key will be staying on the continuity of Saturday’s game,” Camacho said. “A match won is good, but it is not an end. We will have to stay strong, solid, and keep the basics of the last match to get a result.”
Continuity, or momentum, is key if Impact are to emerge from this game with anything. Perhaps one piece of encouragement lies in that of those 14 unbeaten games, FCD has won only six. A draw would be a highly commendable result to bring back from Texas of course, but while anything can happen in football, it remains the unlikeliest of outcomes.
Still, streaks are there to be snapped, and what better incentive for Impact than to win at a venue that has been traditionally unkind.
The main dangers to the Impact will be two Argentinians and a Belgian. Mauro Diaz is top man on assists for FCD, while fellow-countryman Max Urruti, and Roland Lamah, have been doing most of the scoring – six apiece this season.
All three are expected to play, having been rested for the 1-0 US Open Cup victory over San Antonio in midweek.
FC Dallas Projected Starting XI(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Jesse Gonzalez — Reggie Cannon, Matt Hedges, Reto Ziegler, Ryan Hollingshead — Kellyn Acosta, Carlos Gruezo, Mauro Diaz — Roland Lamah, Maxi Urruti, Santiago Mosquera
Montreal Impact Projected Starting XI(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Evan Bush — Chris Duvall, Rod Fanni, Rudy Camacho, Daniel Lovitz — Samuel Piette, Saphir Taider — Raheem Edwards, Jeisson Vargas, Ignacio Piatti — Anthony Jackson-Hamel
Prediction: I stuck my neck out (successfully) against one Texan opponent last weekend, but I’m pulling it back in for this one. It’s difficult to see Montreal getting anything from this game against one of the league’s in-form teams at a venue where positive returns have been non-existent.
It’s just possible that Dallas may be caught in a mood of over-confidence, but given Montreal’s road form, I’m not sure the capability is there to take advantage.
If Montreal can get to HT scoreless you just never know, but second-halves of games have been troublesome this season.
I expect FC Dallas to win by two or three.