Bridgeview, IL (Sports Network) - The Chicago Fire and Montreal Impact do not
have a great deal in common heading into their meeting at Toyota Park on
Chicago claimed an MLS Cup title in its inaugural season (1998) while Montreal
failed to even qualify for the playoffs in its debut campaign in the league
But the Canadian club's sophomore effort has brought about more fortune as the
Impact have enjoyed a position within the top-three of the Eastern Conference
for much of the season. They come into the weekend in third place on 35
points, seven points better than the Fire, who sit outside the playoff
One thing that the two sides do have in common, though, is that they have both
tasted defeat to a struggling D.C. United side within the last week.
Montreal suffered a humiliating 3-1 loss at RFK Stadium last Saturday, leaving
the club with just one win from its last seven league contests.
"Winning on the road is a hard thing," Impact head coach Marco Schallibaum
said after the match. "Especially in the first half, we concede the first
against a team that has endured bad results. Then we scored to make it 1-1,
but as a phase we should not have conceded the second one. It was at the wrong
time and then it was difficult to come back."
Montreal's once stout defense has become a liability in recent weeks; the
Impact have conceded three or more goals in four of its last seven games.
"We have to be mentally tougher, it's as simple as that," said Impact
goalkeeper Troy Perkins. "We've got to be stronger and we can't have these
kind of lapses. And when we do, we have to be able to get through it."
The Impact were able to bounce back and pick up a 1-0 victory over the San
Jose Earthquakes in CONCACAF Champions League play on Wednesday, but the Fire
were not quite as lucky in their respective midweek venture.
After earning an impressive 2-1 road win over the Philadelphia Union in MLS
regular season action at the weekend, Chicago hosted D.C. in a U.S. Open Cup
semifinal matchup only to bounced from the competition by a 2-0 loss.
"I don't think the team was that different but it's a tough loss," head coach
Frank Klopas said after the match. "Obviously, a great opportunity at home
Wednesday night playing at home, the fan support was fantastic. Sometimes it's
one of those games where those little things don't go our way. Obviously the
goals given up late and then the start ... but we pushed and we had some
chances that didn't go in but what are you going to do.
"Definitely it's going to hurt us tonight and for tomorrow we have to regroup
and now really focus on the league because we're right there and some big
games are coming up to put ourselves in a spot in the playoffs."
And with such a quick turnaround, the Fire must press the reset button quickly
in order to be mentally prepared for a tough test against the Impact.
"We were pretty excited to come out today to try and get a win and go on to
the final," said defender Gonzalo Segares. "Unfortunately, it didn't happen
and now we have to turn around, lift up our heads and tomorrow get ready for
Montreal. We are still in the hunt for the playoffs and we have a key game on
Saturday on short rest and we have to be mentally ready for sure."
The Sports Network