The appearance of the Crew in the playoffs has long been secure. They’re now playing for home field advantage in the first round. Not so for CF Montreal and because of that, the Crew is facing a desperate opponent on Decision Day.
If you’ve looked at the Eastern Conference standings, you know Montreal is currently above the playoff line in eighth place. So, why do I say they’re desperate? Because L’Impact sits just one point in front of a logjam of three teams. I’ll stop just short of saying a loss to the Crew will be devastating to their playoff chances. They can still get in but will need two of those three teams directly behind them to lose or draw. Montreal is not going to want to leave their fate up to the soccer gods. I fully expect to see them play like a desperate team against the Crew.
As for the Crew, things are quite simple for them on Decision Day. A win or draw against Montreal OR a New England loss gives them home field advantage. A win combined with a win or draw by New England will move the Crew past Philadelphia and into third place.
Don’t Get Bitten
When an animal is backed into a corner, it will come at you with teeth bared. Montreal is certainly backed into a corner right now and the Crew can’t get bitten by them. Crew head coach Wilfried Nancy must have his team ready to go from the opening whistle. Montreal is going to come out flying and the Crew won’t have the luxury of easing into the flow of the game. Dominate possession and put pressure on the Montreal defense, because I don’t think they’ll be able to handle the Crew’s offensive skill for 90 minutes. Don’t let them hang around and gain confidence.
Note the start time for Saturday’s game. 6 PM, not the usual 7:30. By mid-evening, we’ll know if we’re all going to be making plans to be at Lower.com Field the opening weekend of the playoffs or figuring out what snacks we’re having while watching on tv. I really want to make a trip to Columbus next weekend.