A second-half rally helped the Montreal Impact earn a point in their last match, but they know there’s plenty of room for improvement - especially on the defensive side.
Montreal will try to avoid matching the club record with a second straight home loss Sunday night when an improving Chivas USA side makes its first appearance at Stade Saputo.
After their four-game home winning streak ended four days earlier with a 4-3 loss to Colorado, the Impact (9-4-3) found themselves down 3-1 in the second half Wednesday at Toronto. However, Hassoun Camara and Marco Di Vaio, among the MLS leaders with 11 goals, scored one minute apart to forge a 3-all draw.
The Impact played without coach Marco Schallibaum, who was serving his third one-game suspension of the season for coming onto the field the loss during the Rapids defeat. Assistant Philippe Eullaffroy also was suspended for throwing the ball at an opposing player.
“We did everything we could on the field to get the three points, but that point is good,” midfielder Felipe Martins told the Impact’s official website. “We know we didn’t play well, especially in the first half, but good teams fight back and we can’t complain. We’ll have to watch the video tomorrow and be ready for another game against Chivas USA on Sunday.”
Montreal is battling for the Eastern Conference lead and now faces the team with the fewest points in the West.
Chivas (3-10-4) also has the West’s fewest goals with 15, including five during its current 0-9-3 stretch, but the Impact defense and goalkeeper Troy Perkins have been giving up goals at an alarming rate. The seven they’ve allowed in the last two contests are tied for the most in back-to-back matches in the club’s two-year history.
“We can do better tactically as a group,” Camara said. “If we drop back as soon as we lose the ball and regroup like we used to do earlier, we’ll be even more efficient. Maybe we’d score less, but the games would be tighter and we’d pick up more points. We shouldn’t panic, quite the contrary.”
Chivas USA is playing with confidence after posting back-to-back draws since losing a franchise record-tying seven straight. The Red and White are 0-2-2 since Jose Luis Real took over coaching duties from the fired Jose Luis Sanchez Sola.
“I think they are starting to play more as a team and less as individuals,” Real said through a translator following Thursday’s scoreless draw at Dallas.
The club’s defense, anchored by goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, has allowed two goals in the last three matches after yielding 20 in its previous seven.
“We still have two more left on this (three-game) road trip, so we need to take that confidence with us knowing that we can get points anywhere,” Kennedy told Chivas’ official website after recording his first clean sheet of the season. “We got through (Thursday), and now it’s about recovering quick because we have a game Sunday in Montreal. Fortunately, Montreal are not in the best form right now and we’re coming into a little bit of a better way. So that should be a good game for us.”
Kennedy was beaten by Martins but finished with three saves in Chivas’ only previous matchup with Montreal, a 2-1 home win June 20, 2012.