The Montreal Impact (3-9-0, 9 points) and Minnesota United (4-7-1, 13 points) are both hungry for a win, so barring a draw Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, somebody’s fortunes will be looking up by the end of the match.
Montreal has dropped three consecutive matches, each loss a shutout. If the Impact are going to turn things around, they must get better in their own end.
“Everyone’s disappointed,” said Impact defender Daniel Lovitz. “We haven’t scored a goal in three games, and all those games have been losses. Something needs to change. It’s up to us to figure out what that is and then move forward in a positive manner.
“We don’t want to use the word desperation, but we know that if we really want progress, we need to get moving fast and effectively. We’re going to Minnesota with the intention of winning.”
The Impact have conceded a league-worst 27 goals this season. With defenders Zakaria Diallo (Achilles tendon), Kyle Fisher (tibia) and Victor Cabrera (calf) out with injury, protecting their own net becomes an imposing challenge. Montreal also will play without midfielder David Choiniere (ankle surgery).
Subpar play in their own end puts tremendous pressure on Impact midfielder Ignacio Piatti, who leads the team in goals (5) and assists (6). He has a chance to get back that scoring touch against Minnesota, which has conceded 22 goals this season.
Minnesota takes its home pitch after mustering a point in a 1-1 draw with Western Conference-leading Sporting Kansas City. The Loons are eager to build on that in the final match of a three-game homestand and will rely on midfield workhorses Darwin Quintero (3 goals, 1 assist) and Miguel Ibarra (1 goal, 3 assists) to do it.
“It is a big game for us,” said Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath. “A point against the Western Conference leaders at home and another decent performance gives us something to build on going into this weekend.”
The Loons haven’t scored more than one goal in four matches. Playing the defensively challenged Impact at home provides a prime opportunity to find the back of the net.
They will try to end their run of home matches on a positive note without the services of midfielders Sam Cronin (cervicogenic dysfunction), Kevin Molino (torn left ACL) and Ethan Finlay (torn right ACL), defender Marc Burch (left knee) and goalkeeper Matt Lampson (right knee).
Midfielder Ibson is questionable with a left thigh injury, leaving the Loons thin at that position.
—Field Level Media