Montreal Impact meet a new and potentially dangerous opponent on Wednesday evening, in Cavalry FC.
The CanPL Spring champions have won 11 of their 14 fixtures since the new league began and have lost only two, one of which after the Spring title had been confirmed and some younger players given opportunities. In fact they’ve lost only two competitive matches all season, also winning 4 and drawing 2 in the Canadian Championship, including a notable 2-1 win at Vancouver Whitecaps in the previous round.
Cavalry also come into this game on the back of ten days rest. Their last league game was back on July, 27, when they tied Valour FC, 1-1, in Winnipeg.
“It will be a typical cup game,” say’s Impact boss, Remi Garde.
“Cavalry are technically and tactically well-organized. They have good players who all play together, have a different type of animation for the game they want to play. And they are very flexible. We know them. We’ve studied a lot what they are able to do, but we must show the best of our team,” added the Impact coach.
The CanPL club are a consistently robust unit that work very hard for each other. Montreal is not, one day great the next poor, never better illustrated over the past two games. Impact fans just don’t ever know which Impact side will turn up on any given day.
There is the potential of another upset on Wednesday, should the MLS side fall into the trap of taking victory for granted, or produce another ‘Denver’ performance, but generally after such a shabby show, they have managed to rebound effectively.
It’s expected with so many games coming up in this two-week period, Remi Garde will rotate his squad, which makes predicting his starting line-up a game of guess and hope. But one thing’s for sure, if the attitude’s not right on the night, the desired result is unlikely to follow.
Nik Ledgerwood will be the most familiar name to Impact fans on the Cavalry roster. The oft-capped Canadian international has a wealth of European experience particularly in Germany, and although in the twilight of his career remains a driving force for his latest team.
Top scorer with 5 goals is Sergio Camargo, a Colombian-born Canadian, who formerly played with Toronto FC II.
For Montreal, don’t be surprised if Paitti is rested this evening, or deployed on the bench. Anthony Jackson-Hamel could be the beneficiary. It’s also another opportunity for Zakaria Diallo to re-ignite his season, that’s if he retains his place. The Frenchman’s performances from 2019’s early months are becoming a fading memory and fans would welcome a return to early season form.
James Pantemis may get another chance between the posts, and Omar Browne, who’s not seen much action lately, is likely to get the start, probably in place of Okwonkwo, who would then be rested, although at least on the bench.
Garde must field a side looking to establish a comfortable lead, in a competition in which the Impact has never recorded a road win. They’ll want Wednesday’s result to render the second-leg, academic. But they shouldn’t get too far ahead of themselves. Any kind of positive result, and a clean sheet, is paramount. Adding to the margin will be the gravy.
This writer feels there’ll still be a job to be done when the sides reconvene for the second-leg at Spruce Meadows in Foothills County in a week’s time. The Impact should win this Wednesday, but victory is unlikely to be conclusive.
Line-Ups (projected) -
IMFC: Pantemis - Brault Guillard, Camacho, Raitala, Lovitz - Browne, Shome, Taider, Lappalainen - Jackson-Hamel, Urruti.
Cavalry: Carducci - Zator, Wheeldon, Trafford, Mavila - Pasquotti, Buscher, Ledgerwood, Escalante - Camargo, Brown.
Match Officials: unavailable at time of publication.