For four weeks, the Montreal Impact trotted along a winning trail until a powerful force knocked them off their horse. Now they will aim to hop right back on and continue on their way.
After a midweek, 3-0 road loss to New York City FC, the Impact hope the comforts of home will set them in order when they host the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night at Saputo Stadium.
Montreal (8-12-0) has won its last four matches on its own pitch, the latter three as part of its now-snapped four-game winning streak.
That success has propelled the club into playoff position, holding the sixth and final spot in the Eastern Conference by virtue of one more win but tied in points with the Philadelphia Union, who hold a game in hand.
“We can’t be content with what we’ve done over the past month because if we lose two or three games in a row, we’re back where we started,” Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush told the Journal de Montréal. “We can’t afford to lose points, but we also have to look at the big picture.”
At the forefront of that picture is a date with the Earthquakes (2-10-6), who sit last in the Western Conference and second-to-last overall. San Jose arrives in Montreal winless in its past nine MLS games (five losses, four draws). The team hasn’t won since May 21.
Its most recent setback came last Saturday, a 2-1 defeat at Portland. The Earthquakes trailed for nearly the entire match before breaking through in the 87th minute.
San Jose faces an extremely tough hill to climb into playoff contention, sitting 14 points back of the final spot. The team knows it must play better to have any hope of an extended season but also feels confident in its ability to turn things around.
“Even though we have had too many defeats, we are still in every single game,” Earthquakes coach Mikael Stahre told mlssoccer.com after the loss. “We have lost by more than one goal in just one game, but they are still defeats. We have to win games.”
Regarding the game against New York City FC, he said, “We played against a team that controlled the game right from the first second. We did have some chances, but overall they controlled the game and deserved three points.”
The loss to the Timbers not only hurt the Earthquakes in the standings but also on the pitch. Striker Danny Hoesen left the match in the 33rd minute after colliding with an opponent. He is listed as questionable for Saturday’s match.