After a terrible start to the season, the Montreal Impact (7-11-0, 21 points) have been on a march toward a postseason bid over the past month. After an even worse start, the Colorado Rapids (4-10-3, 15 points) have spent the last few weeks looking like a respectable club.
To be sure, the host Impact have a bit more mojo coming into Saturday’s match at Stade Saputo in Montreal, having won four of their past five matches, all of them clean sheets. To continue their winning ways, Montreal will look for Ignacio Piatti, who has racked up four goals in his past three matches, to get his first career goal against the Rapids. Piatti leads the team with nine goals and six assists, tops in both categories.
Even more important than Piatti staying on his current tear is the team avoiding a lapse in commitment to its system against a club coming off a loss and lagging in the standings. After shutting out Western Conference powerhouse Sporting Kansas City 2-0 to finish June, Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush is aware of the danger.
“Against Colorado, it’s a trap game. We’re absolutely not in a position to let our guard down, regardless of how we’ve been playing,” Bush said. “We’ll need to stay vigilant.”
The Rapids, on the other hand, will be looking for a return to recent form. After going unbeaten in three consecutive matches, Colorado dropped a home game, losing to the Seattle Sounders 2-1 on July 4.
Manager Anthony Hudson was less than impressed with his squad’s performance, especially after Colorado went down 1-0 within the first 20 minutes.
“Disappointed. Wasn’t a good night,” Hudson said. “(We) started poorly and gave ourselves too much to do, gave away soft goals and disappointed, disappointed.”
A lot of the Rapids’ hopes for picking up all three points will rest with their leading scorer, forward Dominique Badji, who has six goals on the season. Colorado will also have the advantage of a nearly full complement of players for the match, although midfielder Edgar Castillo is under suspension and defender Marlon Hairston is listed as questionable with an undisclosed injury.
Montreal is still dealing with a number of injuries. They will be without defensemen Zakaria Diallo (ruptured Achilles tendon) and Kyle Fisher (tibia) as well as midfielders David Choiniere (ankle surgery) and Louis Beland-Goyette (foot). Midfielders Jeisson Vargas (undisclosed injury) and Samuel Piette (hip) are questionable.
—Field Level Media