The Montreal Impact and Los Angeles Football Club both have thoughts of home in advance of the teams’ Saturday meeting at Montreal’s Stade Saputo.
On Wednesday, expansion LAFC rolled out its new $350 million venue, Banc of California Stadium, earmarked for an April 29 home opener. LAFC (3-2-0) has played its first five games on the road and is coming off a bounce-back 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Likewise, Montreal (2-4-0) is returning to its home ground this week with the snow finally cleared. The Impact have played five of their first six games away under new coach Remi Garde, its only “home” game coming at neighboring Olympic Stadium. But Saturday’s match kicks off a more favorable stretch for Montreal, with four of its next six scheduled for Stade Saputo.
“We’ll need to play like we’re at home and impose our style of play and do a lot better than we have in the previous few games,” defender Rudy Camacho said on the Impact’s website. “Everyone is excited to play in our stadium and see our supporters. I think it will galvanize the entire group.”
The contest will represent LAFC defender Laurent Ciman’s first opportunity to show that Garde made a mistake in trading the Belgian international to Los Angeles in December. Ciman was a crowd favorite over three seasons in Montreal.
LAFC is riding a high after handing Vancouver a rare home defeat on second-half goals by Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi, both assisted by Marco Urena.
Vela and Rossi lead the team with four goals apiece. The road shutout was welcome news for a team which surrendered nine goals in its two previous matches, losses to the Atlanta United (5-0) on April 7 and the Los Angeles Galaxy (4-3) on March 31. LAFC coach Bob Bradley, who switched to a 3-4-3 formation for the match, described the effort as a “really strong response” on MLSsoccer.com.
The Impact fell apart in the second half of a 3-1 loss at the New York Red Bulls last week, but Montreal’s Jeisson Vargas, a 20-year-old from Chile, provided a big early spark with a sensational goal on a free kick, his team-best third goal of the season. Ignacio Piatti excelled as a playmaker in his return from an injury. Saphir Taider returns this week after sitting out with a red-card suspension.
Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush thought the team was unfortunate not to take the lead a “couple times” last week after pulling even, 1-1.
“In the second half, I don’t think the reaction was good and the energy I don’t think was as good as we would like it to be, for whatever reason,” Bush said after the game.
—Field Level Media