|Major League Soccer|
· Int'l Soccer
Saturday, March 17, 2012 (All times Eastern)
Chicago (0-0-0) at Montreal (0-1-0), 2 p.m.
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Win, lose or draw, Saturday is poised to be a very special day for one Major League Soccer club as the Montreal Impact are set to make their home debut at the Olympic Stadium against the Chicago Fire.
The Impact are coming off of a disappointing first match in MLS as Jesse Marsch's men were thoroughly outplayed in a 2-0 loss to last season's bottom- feeders, Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Montreal conceded the opening goal just after four minutes, highlighting the need to keep the Fire at bay early on Saturday.
"Looking at the game as a whole, I don't think we gave away much," Marsch said about his team's MLS opener. "Yeah, we gave up a goal in the [fourth] minute, then we gave up another at the beginning of the second half. Then they hit the post... Other than that, there was a lot of solid defensive work. We just need to continue to move that along, and certainly good starts will now be vital for us."
The Impact did not really test Vancouver's Joe Cannon in goal, so the club added some more firepower up front with the signing of Bernardo Corradi after the Italian striker enjoyed a successful trial during preseason.
"It's been good to have Bernardo here with us for a couple of weeks," said Marsch. "He's shown in that time that he's a good player, a good leader and has great experience. We are excited to have him as a part of our group and we feel he can help us be a better team."
Chicago, which was not in action last weekend, will be looking to carry over its phenomenal finish from the 2011 season into the beginning of the 2012 campaign. The Fire closed out last year with a 7-2-1 record over their final 10 games, but they ultimately fell just short of the playoffs due to a poor start to the season.
"We have a good group and a good set of guys and us not making the playoffs the last two years, there's more pressure from that alone," said defender Cory Gibbs. "The chemistry that we have and the team that's been built, we're willing to take on the pressure regardless."
The duo that has the highest potential to relieve some of that pressure consists of the lethal Ghanaian partnership of Dominic Oduro and Patrick Nyarko in attack.
"It's a great combination," Oduro said. "I know he plays on the wing sometimes, but I'd love to have him as a forward all the time. With me and him up front, there's more of a threat."
Chicago did well to bolster its back line as well, adding German international Arne Friedrich in the offseason. Friedrich brings a wealth of experience to Toyota Park, having accumulated 88 international caps and featured for Germany in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
03/16 14:49:14 ET
Powered by The Sports Network.