Slump­ing Im­pact can’t waste chance for win against ex­pan­sion Min­nesota

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY BILL BEA­CON

It is des­per­a­tion time for the Mon­treal Im­pact.

Sit­ting five points out of a play­off spot with seven games to go, vic­tory is vi­tal when the Im­pact play host to lowly Min­nesota United on Satur­day night.

“It’s def­i­nitely a game when we need to be hun­gry and pounce on them,’’ coach Mauro Biello said this week. “It’s an ur­gency game for us, but it also could set the tone for the games that are com­ing up.

“We need to take the right ap­proach to this game and the right men­tal­ity.’’

The Im­pact (10-11-6) put them­selves in a hole when they fol­lowed up a four-game win­ning streak by los­ing three in a row — set­backs at home of 3-1 and 1-0 to Toronto and Chicago re­spec­tively — fol­lowed by a 1-0 loss last week in New Eng­land.

Get­ting out of it won’t be easy, es­pe­cially with two games on the road against first-place Toronto still to be played, in­clud­ing one next week at BMO Field. Only three of Mon­treal’s last seven matches are at home.

But if there is such a thing as easy points in Ma­jor League Soc­cer, they should come against Min­nesota (7-15-5). The ex­pan­sion club sits 10th in the 11-team Western Con­fer­ence and will be play­ing for the sec­ond time in four days af­ter a 3-0 loss Wed­nes­day to the White­caps in Van­cou­ver.

Play­ing at Sa­puto Sta­dium, with a mostly healthy team and plenty of mo­ti­va­tion, is all in Mon­treal’s favour. And any­thing other than a win would pretty much end hopes of a fourth trip to the play­offs in its six MLS sea­sons.

“It’s al­ways tricky in this league,’’ cau­tioned Biello. “They (Min­nesota) have com­peted in ev­ery game.

“There are some qual­ity play­ers on that team that we

“There are some qual­ity play­ers on that team that we need to be aware of. It’s their first year, but we will fo­cus on what we need to do to get the three points.” Im­pact coach Mauro Biello

need to be aware of. It’s their first year, but we will fo­cus on what we need to do to get the three points. We know it won’t be easy against a team that’s go­ing to come in and try to steal points.’’

The Min­nesota ros­ter in­cludes for­mer Im­pact mid­field­ers Jo­han Vene­gas and Collen Warner and they picked up a player who has given Mon­treal trou­ble be­fore — mid­fielder Ethan Fin­lay — from Colum­bus on Aug. 9.

Min­nesota is 1-9-2 on the road this sea­son, the lone vic­tory a 2-1 de­ci­sion on Aug. 26 in Chicago.

The Loons have con­ceded a league-high 56 goals in 27 games. Their first two MLS games were set­backs of 5-1 and 6-1 and they have sur­ren­dered four or more goals four times.

That should get the sali­vary glands work­ing for goal-scor­ers like An­thony Jack­son-Hamel, who got a vote of con­fi­dence in the form of a two-year con­tract ex­ten­sion this week.

“I al­ways get ready the same way for ev­ery team,’’ said Jack­son-Hamel. “I al­ways want to put the ball into the net, whether we play the best team or the weak­est team.

“We don’t look at the game that way. We need the three points.’’

Mon­treal is with­out for­ward Mat­teo Man­cosu, who will miss a sec­ond game with a bro­ken hand. The Ital­ian is train­ing with a cast on the hand and is ex­pected to re­turn next week.

For­ward Bal­lou Tabla should be avail­able af­ter deal­ing with flu-like symp­toms ear­lier this week.

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