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Operation Vancouver

Henry hints of return from injury for Bojan

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Montreal Impact
Zachary Brault-Guillard (right) and Yordy Reyna in a chase for the ball during the earlier meeting at Stade Saputo between the clubs in the Canadian Triangular tournament. Montreal won 2-0.
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Thierry Henry preferred to concentrate on the matches against Vancouver, rather than take questions on the ‘just released’ MLS schedule post the Canadian triangular tournament.

“My mind was and still is on Vancouver. I cannot think and talk about that when we have two important games against Vancouver, obviously for the Canadian Cup and the League.”

Just as well, for trips out to the Canadian west have rarely been profitable for the Impact. Yes, they clinched a Canadian Championship there in 2013, but in 8 visits to BC Place Montreal has won once and lost five.

The solitary victory (3-2) at the beginning of 2016 came courtesy of a brace from Ignacio Piatti and one from Dominic Oduro.

So despite the struggles Marc Dos Santos is having with his team, like any game on the road, this will be no easy ride for Montreal.

Montreal Impact v Toronto FC
Thierry Henry - not thinking about the new MLS schedule until he gets Vancouver double out of the way...
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Henry said, “You have a team on the other side that have just won against Toronto, they’re going to be buzzing, Marc is doing an amazing job there to keep the guys concentrated especially after the quarantine that we have after coming back from the bubble.

“They are physical, they can keep the ball, you saw they are strong on set-pieces. We’re going to have to deal with that, so obviously for us on the other side we are going to try to win the game because that’s what we need to do.”

The Montreal head coach hinted that Bojan may finally be free of injury to travel, although it sounds far from decided. “So far nothing new [regards injuries]. Bojan can be maybe travelling. I don’t know, but we have another twelve hours before we leave, or more than that actually. So we will see how he’s going to be.”

Clement Diop also underlined the difficult task ahead but is under no illusion in respect of the minimum target. “This is still a good team. They showed against Toronto they can score goals, that they can be a strong team at home, so it’s for us to prepare to deliver a battle and get three points over there.”

Vancouver have injured players either back available or nearing full fitness and will be keen to build on their victory over Toronto FC last weekend.

Vancouver Whitecaps v Los Angeles Galaxy
Montrealer, Marc Dos Santos looking forward to the upcoming visits of his former club...
Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images

Coach Marc Dos Santos however describes the challenge provided by Montreal a very different one to facing Toronto.

“Montreal is a team that loves and excels at attacking the space behind the opponent. Those runs from Lappalainen, Okwonkwo and Quioto and how Taider is able to find them is all dangerous.

We’re aware of that and we prepare according to that. It is a different game to Toronto. They are a team that pushes you back due to their possession. They have players with a high level of quality that push you back.”

Montreal Impact must win both games in the Vancouver double-header and return an overall +4 winning margin to advance in the Canadian Championship, from which the Whitecaps are already eliminated.

It should not be forgotten however that MLS regular season points remain at stake in the games taking place.

Line-ups (probable) -

VWFC - Hasal - Godoy, Rose, Cormelius, Adnan - Owusu, Baldisimo, Teibert - Milinkovic - Cavallini, Bair

IMFC - Diop - Brault-Guillard, Camacho, Binks, Raitala - Wanyama, Maciel - Piette, Taider, Lappalainen - Quioto

Match Officials -
Referee - Pierre-Luc Lauziere
Asst Refs - Chris Wattam, Lyes Arfa
4th Official - Silviu Petrescu
VAR - Drew Fisher