Getting back on track may prove easier said than done for the Montreal Impact with a road clash against Real Salt Lake at Sandy, Utah looming on the horizon.
The Impact are not a team accustomed to doing well away from home. They have allowed 1.83 goals per game in road matches this season. That’s not a blueprint for success against one of best home teams in the MLS.
Real Salt Lake (10-9-4, 34 points) is poised to take advantage of any such struggles on Saturday. Salt Lake has outscored opponents 24-10 during an 11-game home unbeaten streak. The club put 10 of 15 shots on frame and dominated possession from start to finish in a 2-1 win over Chicago last weekend.
Damir Kreilach produced both goals in his best outing of the season to help his team extend a three-game unbeaten streak.
“He has a tough situation because I need him to play both sides of the ball probably more than anybody on this because of his position,” RSL coach Mike Petke said of Kreilach. “He is understanding now when I want him to get higher up on the field and when I need him to be back.”
Montreal (9-13-2, 29 points) is mired in a three-game winless streak and has won just two road games so far this season. The Impact came to life in June after running off four consecutive wins. Their momentum has since stalled.
Defense has been a major culprit in the downturn. Opponents are getting good looks at the net on a consistent basis to put extra pressure on goalkeeper Evan Bush. Montreal’s opponents put 41 percent of their shots on frame, which is the second highest percentage among MLS teams.
The Impact have allowed eight goals in their last five games and are 0-2-2 in that stretch when their opponent scores. Montreal had a chance to reverse fortunes last weekend after scoring in the fifth minute against D.C. United. But the Impact eventually settled for a 1-1 draw after giving up a late second-half goal.
“We opened the scoring quickly and then we became spectators,” Remi Garde told MLSSoccer.com following the game. “We played too low on the pitch and we didn’t put enough pressure on our opponent. They gained confidence, stared passing more, and played like they were the home team.”
Earning three points against Montreal could have huge implications for Salt Lake. RSL is currently in sixth place in the Western Conference, but trails second place Portland by just three points though the Timbers have played three fewer games.
—Field Level Media