MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, March 23, 2014
(All times Eastern)
Seattle (1-1-0) at Montreal (0-2-0), 4 p.m.
Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - After starting the season with two
successive road matches, the Montreal Impact will head north of the border for
its home opener against Seattle Sounders FC at Olympic Stadium on Sunday.
The Impact are still searching for their first win under Frank Klopas after
suffering defeats to FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo, but the club is
unbeaten in its previous two home openers in MLS. Montreal earned a 2-1 win
over Toronto FC in its home opener last season and was held to a 1-1 draw by a
Klopas-led Chicago Fire team the year before.
Seattle could be well-positioned to take a result on Saturday, though.
Swapping Montreal's natural grass surface at the Stade Saputo for the Olympic
Stadium's artificial turf could play in Seattle's favor given that the
Sounders play their home matches on turf.
But Saturday's title will still provide Seattle with a new test as it is the
club's first road contest of the season.
The Sounders opened their season with a last-gasp defeat of Sporting Kansas
City before being bested by Toronto FC behind a brace from Jermain Defoe.
Seattle boasts the second-best road record in MLS over the last five years,
although the club's record away from CenturyLink Field in 2013 was subpar,
dropping 10 of its 17 games away from home.
"It comes and goes," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. "Everything comes
in ebbs and flows and last year wasn't maybe our best year on the road, but in
general we've always been a good road team."
The Sounders will have to go on without their star player after Clint Dempsey
received a two-game ban and an undisclosed fine for an off-the-ball incident
during last weekend's loss to Toronto.
The United States international appeared to intentionally strike TFC defender
Mark Bloom in the midsection in the 40th minute of the match, and although
Dempsey later argued he was slapping Bloom's hand away during the altercation,
the committee ruled Dempsey used violent conduct during the incident.
03/22 09:35:52 ET