Woeful Impact defence set to take on punchless Union attack - InfoNews

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Woeful Impact defence set to take on punchless Union attack

Montreal Impact coach Remi Garde signals during second half MLS action against the Toronto FC, in Montreal on Saturday, March 17, 2018. The Montreal Impact will put the worst defence in Major League Soccer against the Philadelphia Union's league-worst attack when the teams meet Saturday afternoon at Saputo Stadium. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
May 11, 2018 - 11:40 AM

MONTREAL - The Montreal Impact will put the worst defence in Major League Soccer against the Philadelphia Union's league-worst attack when the teams meet Saturday afternoon at Saputo Stadium.

Eighth-place Montreal (3-7) has conceded 24 goals in 10 games, while the ninth-place Union (2-5-2) have scored a measly six in nine outings this season.

Both see a chance to start fixing their deficiencies.

"I fear the way (the Union) play because they try to play a very collective game," Impact coach Remi Garde said Friday. "I saw that in clips. We analysed this team and we're going to respect them."

The Impact actually had a strong defensive performance in a 1-0 loss Wednesday night in Chicago until a major breakdown in the 88th minute allowed Kevin Ellis to walk out of a corner and blast in a goal.

Needless to say, the message going into Saturday's contest was to play a full 90 minutes.

"It's important," said Garde. "When you're playing away and you defend well and you can win the game and there's only two minutes left (and then) you have a player that takes the ball on the touch line and can come inside the box and shoot, there is a problem.

"It's not a tactical problem. Unfortunately, it gave them the victory. We have to correct that and be better."

No team better to start against than the Union, who are 0-4 on the road and have yet to score an away goal this season. Philadelphia will be playing a third road game in a nine-day stretch, having lost 3-0 at Toronto on May 4 and 1-0 in Columbus on Wednesday.

C. J. Sapong, who scored 16 times last season, leads the Union with two goals. Speedy designated player David Accam, acquired in January from Chicago for $1.2 million in allocation money, has yet to open his Philadelphia account.

He'll still draw attention from the Impact defence, however.

"Accam's very good, he proved that last season," said right back Michael Petrasso. "They're fast on the wings.

"Both their wingers are very fast and direct. We need to look out for that."

While Garde wants a more focused defence, he also wants better play on attack, if only because offence often is the best defence. In Chicago, he felt they gave up the ball too easily at times and let scoring chances slip away.

The Impact felt they'd shaken a weight off their backs after going 0-4 in April when they beat New England 4-2 at home last Saturday, only to throw away a point in Chicago four days later.

They hope to start over against Philadelphia. After playing seven of their first 10 games away, three of their next four are at home.

"We have an in-conference rival, it's a great opportunity to take some points at home again and put another good performance in," said left back Daniel Lovitz.

Garde did what he could to keep players fresh as they play three times in eight days, but injuries limited his options.

With centre back Rod Fanni back, Victor Cabrera was rested in Chicago. Another centre back, Rudy Camacho, is out with a hip injury, while Jeisson Vargas' knee problem has given Raheem Edwards consecutive starts on the right wing.

Garde said holding midfielder Marco Donadel, who has played only six minutes in one game this season, is not close to returning from a gluteal muscle injury.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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