Montreal Impact MLS is Back Preview

MLS is Back Group C
MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 10: Head coach of the Montreal Impact Thierry Henry addresses the media after a loss against CD Olimpia during the 1st leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal game at Olympic Stadium on March 10, 2020 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. CD Olimpia defeated the Montreal Impact 2-1. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

PREVIEW – Montreal Impact landed in Florida last Tuesday, and after a big sight of relief due to 2 false positives cases of COVID-19 in the team this weekend, the team is preparing his first game against the New England Revolution.

Montreal Impact MLS is Back Preview: Who Will Henry Play and Where?

The last time the two teams faced each other at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium has ended on a 2-1 victory for the home side. But it is a sure thing that situation for both teams has evolved a lot since then. Well, maybe not that much for Montreal. Thierry Henry will still have to decide if he prefers going with the back-three that gave him good results in his first matches or his more proactive and offensive 4-3-3 which he used to completely outcoach CD Olimpia in the second half of their game against Montreal.

The three man defense brings balance and allows the defenders like Luis Binks to have a lot of responsibility in the build up and helps the team to bring the ball forward by playing short passes on ground as Henry likes it since his seasons in Barcelona under the orders of Pep Guardiola. Furthermore, playing with three central defenders gives a lot of room to the young Canadian attacking fullback Zachary Brault-Guillard who was truly excellent during his first matches.

The other alternative is the traditional 4-3-3 with one man in front of the defense. And that 3 men midfield brings another question without answer ; how will the Impact use their new DP, Victor Wanyama. Whilst the Kenyan International has numerous qualities, he is more of a defensive midfielder. The problem is that that spot is occupied by Samuel Piette who does an excellent job as Montreal’s sentinel in front of the defense.

Henry decided to play them both, along with the more attacking minded Saphir Taider. Because of their intelligence and excellent physical work rate, Piette and Wanyama were very fluid in their positions. Sometimes, Wanyama was the one playing the ball higher up the pitch, and sometimes it was Piette. That was a big surprise for Montreal’s fans, because, usually, Piette is never involved in the attacks. Yet, he showed that, even if it’s not his best quality, he is able to play a little higher on the pitch.

Speaking about higher on the pitch, there are questions there too. The Impact has lots of wingers and forwards of different profiles. For example, Bojan Krkic is a wonderful player, but he struggled a bit with knee injury and he was not as good as he should be, but Henry will probably gave him the chance to prove to everyone how good he is by playing him as a false 9 with players like Maxi Urruti, Romel Quioto or Orji Okwonkwo alongside him.

This could be a very dangerous trident as Bojan is an excellent playmaker with the typical technical abilities and game intelligence that comes with coming out from La Masia, FC Barcelona academy. So, combining his passing skill with wingers that loves to make runs deep in the box to get a shot as Okwonkwo, Urruti and/or Quioto could bring a lot of danger in the opponent’s defense.

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