Apr 26, 2013, 5:00 PM EST
Was Montreal’s surprising burst of March largesse just a mirage for the Impact, which has suddenly drifted toward a place where more of us expected to find them all along?
This is a toughie to sort out. Under new manager Marco Schallibaum, the Impact had MLS heads on a swivel a month ago, turning to get a closer look as the bunch from Quebec was perfect in its first four. A 1-0 win over New York back on March 23 served to extinguish any remaining doubts; the sophomore MLS side really did look like a player in the Eastern Conference race.
And then April happened.
Actually, the slide (if we’re calling it that) started in late March with a 2-0 loss in Kansas City. But everyone struggles in Kansas City, right?
A 1-1 draw at home against Columbus could also be written off as an odd duck of a result; the match was delayed 24 hours by massive snowfall. Besides, Columbus has proven to be a bugger on the road.
But then came Wednesday’s 2-0 loss at rival Toronto in the Amway Canadian Championship. So it leaves us all to wonder if the early Impact burst was smoke-and-mirrors stuff? Or was that close to the real Impact, with this recent splat of mediocrity sure to be a passing thing, just the inevitable dip over a long season?
Let’s talk after Saturday’s meeting with the Chicago Fire at cozy little Stade Saputo; kickoff on the NBC Sports Network is 4 p.m. ET.
Schallibaum has some lineup juggling to do; this is the club’s second match of a ridiculously busy stretch with six contests in 18 days.
Chicago’s Frank Klopas won’t have the same busy-busy issues, his club well rested and presumably enjoying an uptick of confidence after last week’s 1-0 win at home, venting some of the mounting pressure around the club’s suburban Bridgeview ground. Huge goal, Jeff Larentowicz!
Arne Friedrich, proving to be even more of a defensive giant for the Fire in his ongoing absence, remains injured and unavailable for Chicago. Jalil Anibaba was strong last week in Friedrich’s spot alongside 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year Austin Berry.
Klopas will have to adjust the back line, however, due to Wells Thompson suspension, so a new right back will find the Stade Saputo field.
Montreal will call on back line reinforcements, too, as Matteo Ferrari’s calf strain will keep the veteran defender out a few weeks.
Best matchup to watch in this one: Impact holding midfielder Patrice Bernier (pictured above) remains something of a well-kept MLS secret. He’ll find himself more or less directly matched with Fire attacking midfielder Chris Rolfe, who hasn’t quite had a big 2013. But then again, no one with the Fire really has.
Dec 28, 2014, 12:11 PM EST
They’re still bottom of the table, but not by much anymore.
Dec 28, 2014, 12:09 PM EST
The point Sunderland pulls four points clear of the drop zone, while Aston Villa is a point above the Black Cats.
Dec 28, 2014, 12:03 PM EST
City remains three points back of Chelsea, and now sit 7 points ahead of No. 3 Manchester United.
Dec 28, 2014, 11:59 AM EST
There was little for fans to latch onto at Loftus Road, and it appropriately ended goalless.
Dec 28, 2014, 11:59 AM EST
What stood out from the clash at St Mary’s? Here’s three things.
Dec 28, 2014, 11:55 AM EST
One quality goal from the Stoke forward plus one lucky one meant West Brom slumped to yet another defeat.
Dec 28, 2014, 11:54 AM EST
The win moves Arsenal into fifth place with 33 points, while West Ham drops to sixth with 31.
Dec 28, 2014, 11:20 AM EST
With just a point taken from White Hart Lane, the Red Devils manager was hard on his team for not finishing.
Dec 28, 2014, 11:06 AM EST
10-man Saints hold on, frustrate Chelsea in lively top four clash.
Dec 28, 2014, 10:58 AM EST
The ball hammered off the underside of the crossbar before nearly bounding back up to meet it.
Dec 28, 2014, 10:54 AM EST
Meanwhile, Newcastle will again turn to 21-year-old keeper Jak Alnwick, with 17-year-old striker Adam Armstrong headed back to the bench for Papiss Cisse.
Dec 28, 2014, 9:38 AM EST
With Leicester on six straight losses, Nigel Pearson can’t afford another with the holidays in the rear view mirror and the Foxes five points alone at the bottom.
Dec 28, 2014, 9:32 AM EST
Villa Park looks to see if their home side can pick up three points against fellow strugglers Sunderland on Sunday morning.
Dec 28, 2014, 9:27 AM EST
Manchester City looks to keep up its fine play with a home win against improving Burnley on Sunday morning.
Dec 28, 2014, 9:23 AM EST
Bojan Krkic proven himself fit to start for Stoke City despite coming off against Everton with a slight back injury.
Dec 28, 2014, 9:20 AM EST
Arsenal’s second London derby in three days comes at the Boleyn Ground, as Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United play host to the Gunners on Sunday morning.
Dec 28, 2014, 9:11 AM EST
A red-hot Charlie Austin looks to increase his Premier League goal tally at Loftus Road against the Eagles.
Dec 28, 2014, 8:58 AM EST
Spurs thwart United, as Red Devils fire a blank.
Dec 28, 2014, 8:16 AM EST
Can Saints upset Chelsea to see out 2014? Watch live, right here.
Dec 28, 2014, 8:15 AM EST
We check in on Lasso, as the former Spurs boss (for a day) adjusts to life as a broadcaster.
- Manchester City 2-2 Burnley: Brave Burnley battles back behind Boyd, Barnes 0
- Three things we learned from Chelsea’s draw vs. Southampton 0
- West Ham United 1-2 Arsenal: Gunners prevail at the Boleyn Ground 0
- Southampton 1-1 Chelsea: Saints hold leaders in pulsating draw 0
- Watch Live: Newcastle United vs. Everton (Lineups and Live Stream) 0
- Watch Live: West Ham United vs. Arsenal (Lineups and Live Stream) 0