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Butler: In search of a Frank win for Impact

Noel Butler
4/11/2014 4:35:16 PM
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When speaking with Mauro Biello shortly after the club's 1-1 tie in Philadelphia on March 29, the Impact assistant looked at the result as a point gained and not a case of another two lost.

The same can't be said of last Saturday's 2-2 draw at Olympic Stadium against a very weakened New York Red Bulls side and one which had three stalwarts in Henry, Cahill and Olave back home in Harrison, NJ.

With confidence and belief at the lowest of ebbs with barely five minutes on the board the Impact could not have asked for the better start as Felipe threaded the ball perfectly into the space Romero was running into.

You could almost feel the relief on the Impact bench as Romero intricately placed his shot just inside the far post.

Dominating the possession early on and carving out opportunity seemingly with ease - this was a Red Bulls team that was certainly there for the taking. However, come the final whistle, the post-match discussion yet again was dominated by the Impact's inability to defend effectively.

It is the basic and elementary aspects of the craft which have been their unravelling. We saw glimpses of this through the pre-season and alarmingly the trend has been allowed to continue as the season has progressed.

How much longer the team can afford to set themselves up in a loose fitting 4-2-3-1 system remains to be seen. Saturday afternoon at Olympic Stadium, and just like 2012's maiden MLS season, the Impact will go into a sixth match of the season still in search of their first victory of the season.

With this as the backdrop a match against the Chicago Fire could not have come at a worse time for Frank Klopas as his old club come into Montreal in search of its initial victory this term too. 

His successor at the Fire - Frank Yallop - spoke in glowing terms during the week about the man he replaced. "I know Frank well, playing against him, coaching against him and socially. He's a good guy."

Klopas's Chicago football roots go all the way back to 1983 when he played with the NASL's Chicago Sting. It was during this time Klopas got to visit, and play in Montreal. A city he continued to visit through intervening years during Christmas shopping trips with his wife.

Familiarity with Montreal also extends itself through Fire ownership. Club president Andrew Hauptman is married to Charles Bronfman's daughter Ellen.

The original Expos owner was special guest of honour at Olympic Stadium when the Impact played the Fire in front of close to 59,000 during the club's home debut in MLS back on Mar. 17, 2012.

With the Impact buoyed McInerney's paperwork has now been sorted out the Fire counter this with news Mike Magee has signed a new deal.

Reports yesterday indicated that the league MVP and Golden Boot recipient native had doubled his salary. News coming on the very same day the MLS Player's Union released 2014 salary figures.
Magee missed the two opening games of the season due to a hamstring recurrence. But just like Marco Di Vaio before him, opened his 2014 account against the Philadelphia Union when the 29-year old Chicago native opened the scoring in last Saturday's 2-2 draw at Toyota Park.

Impact players and coaches this week appeared to sound a collective sigh of relief now McInerey had joined their ranks. Di Vaio going as far to say he had the soccer goods that would not look out of order in Europe. Klopas didn't hesitate when asked if the two could play together. Let's see, and in what context.

Someone likely missing from the starting XI will be Hernan Bernadello - who was substituted late on against the Red Bulls after landing awkwardly. The 27-year old made his club debut against the Fire last August but due to an ankle injury only managed to feature in eight matches in 2013.

Bernier who didn't look at all out of sorts when he came on to replace the DP likely could be inserted into tomorrow's line up. The club captain played and scored during the Impact's reserve team outing at Olympic Stadium last Sunday.

Tomorrow at Olympic Stadium the Impact go into the match on the back of a solitary victory in their last 13 league matches.

Patience will be worn mighty thin though if come 6pm Saturday that number extends itself to 14. It would most certainly sour the planned chance for the two Franks to share a post-game bottle of wine.

Ominously on the two previous occasions, the Chicago Fire has played against a former coach they have come out on the winning side each time. Both wins secured on the road.

You can reach and follow Noel Butler at:
Noel.Butler@BellMedia.ca
@TheSoccerNoel on Twitter

Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire live on TSN Radio 690 [TSN690.ca] Saturday. Kick Off at 4pm - Rick Moffat [@RickMoffat] and Grant Needham [@GrantNeedham] with your call.


Noel Butler

Noel Butler


Noel Butler is an analyst for TSN's soccer coverage and his blog can be read on TSN.ca. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/TheSoccerNoel and listen to his radio program oranges@halftime on TSN Radio 690 Montreal.

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