The Black-and-Red are in Montreal tonight to face one of the hottest teams in the league, the Impact. Montreal is trying to secure the final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, they are unbeaten in their last five matches. The last time these two teams met, United was outshot 25-1 and made history by winning that match 1-0. This will be a different game as on that day Didier Drogba was just signed and had not played in his first game, D.C. will have their hands full tonight as the Ivorian with the golden touch will be up top.
Typically, the road team in MLS league matches plays rather conservative. For United, they might want to replicate their plan of attack from their last match against the Columbus Crew. Apply early and constant pressure and try to strike first, if they can generate similar chances but finish, that’ll go a long way to getting a result against the Impact. As a whole, the Black-and-Red must defend. The entire backline will have to deal with the trio of attackers that has been on fire recently in Drogba, Dominic Oduro, and Dilly Duka. Last time these two teams met, sans Drogba, the Impact took 25 shots. Factor him into this game and that total could easily double, he hasn’t had any trouble finding his way in MLS play. He’s always been comfortable with physical play, which allowed him to score 104 goals in his tenure with Chelsea.
What must the Black-and-Red do to get the result tonight on the road?
- Be the aggressor. It seems that teams come into matches knowing that D.C. is a counter-attacking team, the Crew seemed a bit surprised by the aggressive nature of United last match. Certainly needs to continue this week
- Counter with a purpose. With the Impact’s attack, there will be opportunity for United to create scoring chances on the counter attack. But those chances have to hit home, the backs will play a huge role in that. Taylor Kemp and Sean Franklin will have to provide good passes up the flank after defensive possessions. They are the key in putting together good counter-attacks.
- Force Oduro and Duka to play defense. If United can control midfield as well as the tempo of the game, it could make Montreal have to dropback as a team.
- Sustain possession. To do this, United can’t have their typical 3-4 sloppy give-aways. They must limit those give-aways and maintain possession for long stretches, they were able to do it at times against Columbus and it led to quality chances in the attacking third.
- Keep attackers involved. United has to replicate what they did last week, their key attackers had multiple chances. Saborio, Espindola have to find space up top. More importantly, the wings have to have their touches as well. The D.C. attack is at it’s best when Chris Rolfe and Nick DeLeon are involved on the flanks, which goes back to the second point made on this list.