Thierry Henry is remaining positive that his team can score a handsome enough win over DC United in Tuesday evening’s late game to ensure progress at the MLS-is-Back tournament.
Victory will ensure third place in the group, however a draw would secure that placing for DC United. Irrespective of either outcome, each club will need to sweat it out and hope results from other groups go their way in order to progress. Goal difference in comparison to other third-placed teams is likely to be a factor.
Of course if DC United inflict a third successive defeat on the Impact, then they will automatically progress and the Montrealers will be heading swiftly back to Quebec!
Henry justifiably felt he couldn’t be critical of his side’s fighting spirit in the game against Toronto. It was other aspects of the game that let the team down.
“Yes, we made some errors, yes we can talk about how we conceded a goal right after coming back to 2-2, but the only thing I can do right now is be positive.”
The French coach, opting not to lean on excuses about how some teams were able to begin tournament preparations before others, felt his team displayed encouraging progress in their second game against Toronto.
“Because we had the ball against Toronto, we played exactly how we wanted to play. On the ball we created from the goalkeeper passing the ball on the ground finishing with a penalty on that play. Or [we had] some opportunities that were brilliant.
“I think saying that like I said before, it’s difficult to claim because you end up losing the game. We have to be positive, we have to go forward, we have to believe in what we are trying to do and we have to trust the process.
“Now we have to be better in that process.”
Samuel Piette feels lessons have been learned over the first couple of games, making the comparison between the team’s form at the Orlando tournament against early season trends back in February/March when the Impact were a side, “... fighting on the front foot and controlling games.”
“I think against New England we didn’t do that.
“We were a bit too low in our game and not pressing the opponent. We were not looking to win the ball back, instead just waiting for things to happen basically.”
But like his coach, Piette felt his team corrected those flaws against Toronto and had more success than against the Revs.
“Going into the last [group] game and into the [rest of the] season we want to be a team to impose the rhythm, be on the front foot, and you know, be aggressive with a lot of intensity in all that we do.
“I think that's what we have learned over the last two games.”
Only a brave man would predict the Impact’s line-up for tomorrow evening. Thierry Henry’s team selections so far have generally confounded Impact observers, but without fully entering into the lottery I will suggest a start for Zachary Brault-Guillard at right-back, whether or not the Impact persevere with a back five.
I would also expect Binks and Fanni to be central defensive partners and Wanyama to play in a more advanced role, with Sam Piette in behind.
The remaining midfield and forward positions would appear to all be up for grabs, although after his performance against Toronto, it would be unthinkable to leave Romell Quioto out. Manu Maciel is another with a good shout for inclusion after his debut contribution against the Ontarians.
But... we must wait and see. Such has been the unpredictability of recent line-ups, the anticipation of which may for some create even more suspense than the match itself.