Montreal Impact vs Vancouver Whitecaps – Saturday 12 pm PT/3 pm ET Saputo Stadium, Montreal, Quebec.
Vancouver Whitecaps’ long road trip continues in Montreal where they will the face the Impact in an all-Canadian Derby. Unlike most other football leagues in the world where clubs play at home, and then away, Major League Soccer follows the tradition of the other North American sports leagues by having teams play consecutive games on the road.
One could think that going on long road trips is down to geography, but while North America is a massive continent road trips in Major League Soccer do not always follow logical geographic patterns. Before heading to Montreal Vancouver were on the road in Portland. After that, they will travel to Colorado, and Houston, before heading back to Vancouver to face Sporting Kansas.
Given the fact that MLS does not allow teams to charter out their planes trips in North American football can be an exhausting endeavour, which means that the home, and away advantage is still very much at play in MLS. With this in mind, Montreal will have a significant advantage when they face the Whitecaps on Saturday afternoon at the Saputo Stadium.
Travel, however, will not be the only thing that Montreal will have going for them. While Vancouver has shown some inconsistency this season Montreal’s form has been improving—the Impact recently beat upstarts Atlanta United, and then came back from a 3-0 deficit against the Philadelphia Union to rescue a draw in a spectacular 3-3 draw.
Montreal’s recent spike in form is because superstar Ignacio Piatti has recovered from an injury. The Argentine is the heart, and soul of the club, and he will be the key player in this all-Canadian Derby.
Speaking of the all-Canadian Derby two young Canadian prospects could have a significant impact on this game as well. Montreal’s 18-year-old Ballou Tabla had made recent headlines when he scored his first goal against the Chicago Fire, and 16-year-old Alphonso Davies has been already labelled the biggest hope for the future of Canadian soccer.
A rivalry that dates back to the days of the United Soccer League Montreal against Vancouver will be a fascinating game to watch with two sides that should be relatively even balanced. But given that Montreal have the home advantaged the Impact will be small favourites going into this tie.
Montreal Impact vs Vancouver Whitecaps – Players to look out for:
Ignacio Piatti #10 Montreal Impact
Signed from San Lorenzo in the summer of 2014 Ignacio Piatti has long established himself as Montreal’s outstanding player. A case could be made that the 2014 Copa Libertadores is one of the best players in the league. An attacking midfielder, who can also play on the wing in a 4-3-3 formation, Piatti scored 17 goals, and five assists in the 2016 regular season. He then added another four goals, and two assists, in five MLS Cup games. Piatti has also been stellar this season scoring three goals, and one assist, five MLS games.
Fredy Montero #12 – Vancouver Whitecaps
A recent list published by the MLS players union has laid bare the salaries of every MLS player. On top of Vancouver’s salary list was Colombian forward Fredy Montero, who earns $1.4 million a season. The 29-year-old Colombian forward has now scored four goals, and one assist, in seven games for the Whitecaps including two against the Seattle Sounders two weeks ago.
Montreal Impact vs Vancouver Whitecaps – Match Stats
- This is only Mauro Biello’s second ever MLS game against Vancouver.
- Under Biello Montreal defeated Vancouver 3-2 last season.
- Carl Robinson has faced Montreal five times and has a losing record (W1 D2 L2).
- Vancouver’s last victory against Montreal came in the 2015 Canadian Championship final (2-0).
Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Vancouver Whitecaps
Bush – Oyongo, Camara, Ciman, Duvall – Donadel, Piatti, Bernadello – Jackson-Hamel, Mancosu, Oduro
Coach: Mauro Biello
Ousted – Harvey, Parker, Waston, Williams – Tchani, Laba – Davies, Bolaños, Techera – Montero
Coach: Carl Robinson