While the Vancouver Whitecaps are off to an impressive start to begin the 2014 season, the Montreal Impact have fallen to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
It's a bit surprising, given the Impact were the lone Canadian club to make the post-season in 2013, sneaking in ahead of the Chicago Fire on a second tie breaker. Now, with a two and a half week break behind them, the Whitecaps are looking for their second win in three matches, while the Impact are trying to rebound from a 4-2 loss to D.C. United.
Ahead of the battle, Eighty-Six Forever checked in with SB Nation sister blog Mount Royal Soccer; specifically, founder and Managing Editor Sofiane Benzaza.
86Forever: Obviously Marco Di Vaio isn't on pace for the same production as last season. What's going on with him?
Mount Royal Soccer: Di Vaio is getting older but has been injury-prone. If it's related to his age, then the Impact cannot depend on him to score 20 goals which explains Jack McInerney's arrival to the club.
He did seem in great shape during preseason, but injuries and his role has changed. Klopas is moving things around and Di Vaio might have more assists than goals this year.
86F: Are the Impact a better team than the standings dictate?
MRS: Not really. The Impact is an average team that did not recruit soon enough to fill gaps in its starting lineup. It was expected that Montreal would struggle this season on both ends of the pitch.
If the points total might seem harsh vis à vis the effort put on the pitch, the standings only reflect wins, losses and draws, but not effort and good intentions.
86F: How does Frank Klopas get this team to score more moving forward in the season?
MRS: Versatility, options and hopefully the ever-elusive DP offensive midfielder the club is looking to sign, Ignacio Piatti. Klopas has starting to instill internal competition between players to get the best out of them.
Offensively, he is going with a winger-based offense with a mobile striker. Defensively is where the club needs help and the arrival of Mamadou Denso might give more depth and an option to start.
Klopas will shuffle his lineup when he feels that the commitment level is not up to par, something the coach has pointed to a few times.