At first glance, the Montreal Impact seems to have a big order on its hands. The Montreal eleven will continue their streak of five games in 15 days on Wednesday by visiting the Columbus Crew, leaders in the East.
The Impact, eighth in the East with its 5-8-2 record for 17 points, is going through a nasty streak with no victory in its last five outings (0-4-1).
The good news for the Impact is that the Crew (9-2-4, 31 points) are not showing their best form of the season, with two unsuccessful outings (0-1-1) and only two wins in their five. last (2-2-1).
"We are going to Columbus to try to win the game," said Thierry Henry on Tuesday.
The Crew will be deprived of midfielder Lucas Zelarayan, injured, for this meeting, but will rely in particular on striker Gyasi Zardes, second scorer of the Garber circuit with nine goals in 15 games.
"I'm not surprised (by their performance)," said Henry of the Crew. I spoke to Caleb Porter when we were in Orlando. I thought they were the best team by far. They did a very good recruiting. Whether in the 11 or on the bench. These are players who have been in MLS for a long time, who have won in MLS, who can make the difference whether they come off the bench or are already on the field. They have a very good coach too. There is no smoke without fire. It is quite normal that they are where they are now, fighting with the greats of this championship. "
Henry's troupe could find Saphir Taïder, but will have to do without Romell Quioto and newcomer Mason Toye.
PHOTO ANNE-MARIE SORVIN, USA TODAY SPORTS ARCHIVES
Henry's troop could find Saphir Taïder.
“Mason, physically, has some catching up to do,” Henry noted. We see that it had been a while since he had done anything. "
On the other hand, Henry believes he can count on Ballou Tabla who should be in uniform on Wednesday.
“He's got a bit to pick up on the physical level, because he's been on the sidelines for a little while, as you know. (…) You must not do anything to avoid burning it. We have to wait until he returns to a certain physical level. But he's a player who is more than interesting for us, because he can beat any tactic. When you beat your man one on one, it's easier to tell the difference. "
Another encouraging sign for the Impact: Bojan Krkic seems to be finding his bearings.
“I think the coach pushed me to be better. He knows me, he knows what I can bring to the team and that's what he demands of me, he said. He wants me to be in the box, to converge on the net. This is what I want too. I love to play on offense and have the ball. With more shots, more goals, I'll be happier and the coach will be too. The team, therefore, will be too.
“The more you play, the more you believe in yourself. I feel better physically and have more confidence in my shooting, he added when it was pointed out to him that he has been shooting more lately. If you don't shoot, you won't score. That's why it's important to move the ball well as a team and create chances. Not just for me: we have several players who can take good shots, even from outside the box. "
The Spaniard's contract expires at the end of the campaign and the team have an option clause at their discretion. If he admits to thinking about it, that's not his main concern at the moment.
“Of course I have my contractual situation in mind, because it is at the discretion of the club, it does not depend only on me. But for my part, I also have something else in mind. In four days, it will be nine months since I saw my family, my friends, that I am not at home. It has been a difficult year. Life is not just football. I like football a lot, I want to play and be competitive. But I have a lot of things I'm thinking about.
“My contract, I'll have to think about it, but not now. For now, we have games to win, he added. We want to qualify for the playoffs. We want to go as far as possible. And the time will come to decide what is best for me in the next few years. "