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Henry Expects Tough Game With ‘Old School English’

Impact face Nashville SC tonight, with points crucial to both sides.

Montreal Impact v New York City FC
Montreal will be looking to the goals of Romell Quioto (left) to help them over the line and into the play-offs.
Photo by Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images

Thierry Henry alluded to the possibility of making changes to his back-line for the visit of ‘old school English’ side Nashville (Tonight, KO 7pm, Red Bull Arena), but not just because individual errors continue to confound his team.

Henry explained: “It also depends on who we play against. If the opponent has only one holding midfielder and they like to play through him, then you don’t need to have so many guys up front to put pressure. If the opponent plays with two holding midfielders then you need an extra guy.

“You can only base the tactics on yourself if you have 80% possession and you are dominating leagues.

“Other than that you have to see what the opponent is doing as he will have the ball most of the time. The best way to defend is to have the ball.

“You need to find a way to adapt to what’s on the other side, that’s what we’re trying to do all the time. Now, if you are a team like Toronto, and you have the ball most of the time, then the opponent adapts to you, and then you need to deal with the counter. But it’s a different ball game. We’re not there yet. We’re trying to be that type of team. With the right balance, obviously.”

The Impact coach went on to say he expects a difficult match this evening against a side that imposes its physicality on the game. He likened Nashville to an ‘old school English’ team who can play, and at the same time possesses, “... guys that are physical and aggressive in the right manner.”

Like every other team in football this season, Nashville has had its fair share of problems to deal with. An expansion year under normal circumstances can be tricky enough, but the coronavirus pandemic found a target in the MLS newcomers, who were forced to return home from July’s Florida tournament without kicking a ball.

MLS: Montreal Impact at New York Red Bulls
Available again, Clement Diop is likely to get the nod in front of James Pantemis between the sticks this evening.
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Remarked Henry, “I have a lot of respect, because it’s a new franchise and they had to deal with a lot of stuff during MLS-is-Back, yet they are more than surviving.”

Nashville had to play several games to catch-up, putting strain on an already tight calendar, due to the matches in Florida they missed counting towards the regular season.

They have now strung a confident run of games together, losing only twice in the last thirteen, and find themselves two points above the Impact with a game less played and a better goal difference by 10.

Games are fast running out for Montreal. If they have serious play-off aspirations, they must go all out to win each of their remaining games. Four points from the possible nine remaining on offer may well be enough to ensure a top-10 place, but there will be no cherry-picking or prioritizing of matches. They must approach every one as though it’s a cup final.

Nashville do not concede many goals so it could be a dour struggle this evening. They don’t score many either, but one player Luis Binks and Co must look out for this evening is recent arrival Jhonder Cadiz.

The 25-year-old Venezuelan is a physical presence and could make his first start after emerging from the bench in each of the last three games, scoring once (against Dallas).

Cadiz is on-loan from Benfica with I understand a view to a permanent move, and has had experience in both Ligue Un and the Portuguese Primera League.

Nashville SC v New England Revolution
Looking less familiar than usual to Impact fans tonight, will be their former left-back Dan Lovitz, now plying his trade in the electric gold of Nashville.
Photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Facing former player Dan Lovitz this evening, Montreal will be looking to improve on a poor run which has yielded no fewer than seven defeats in ten matches. But the squad is now healthier than in recent weeks, or at least there are more options, which is perhaps not the same thing.

Should Montreal not take something from this game they could be usurped by the pursuing clubs closest and fall below the line, although both Inter-Miami and Chicago Fire have tricky road fixtures tomorrow evening.

Anxious, over-the-shoulder glances look sure to remain a feature of this crazy regular season right up until decision day on November 8, when the Impact concludes against DC United in Washington.

Projected Line-ups -

IMFC - Diop - Brault-Guillard, Waterman, Binks, Raitala - Piette, Wanyama, Sejdic, Quioto - Bojan, Toye.

Nashville - Willis - Johnston, Zimmerman, Romney, Lovitz - Godoy, McCarty - Leal, Cadiz, Muyl - Danladi

Match Officials -

  • Referee: Ismail Elfath
  • Asst Refs: Corey Parker, Kyle Atkins
  • 4th Official: Thomas Snyder
  • VAR: Chris Penso