The Vancouver Whitecaps are once again coming up against a Canadian rival as they meet the Montreal Impact on Sunday. Vancouver is coming off a surprising win against Toronto F.C and will be looking to prove that it wasn’t a fluke (it probably was) and that they are starting to genuinely turn things around (they probably aren’t). Montreal still has a chance to advance to the final of the Canadian Championship and thus will be desperate to win out their two games against the runt of the Canadian litter.
Neither of these teams are very good. Montreal have been outshot 122-77 over their 9 games in 2020, have the 5th worst average possession in the league, and have only 9.38 expected goals for as compared to 14.51 expected goals against. Them being 6th in the east can mostly be attributed to good fortune. Their main threats are Max Urrutti and Romell Quioto, both of whom are enjoying resurgent seasons under Thierry Henry.
Henry has mostly employed a very defensive system, playing with three centre backs in 7 of his 9 matches in charge. Breaking that down will be a challenge for Vancouver, who have often looked a bit lost when playing against a set defence.
The player to watch for Montreal is Luis Binks, a centre back who was signed from Tottenham Hotspur’s U23 team and has impressed so far in MLS. He has been sold to Saputo owned Bologna but loaned back to Montreal for the remainder of the season.
As bad as Montreal are, Vancouver are even worse. They have been outshot 169-67 over their 9 games in 2020, have the worst average possession in the league, have 9.47 expected goals for and 17.45(!) expected goals against. Vancouver’s attack is surprisingly good when they actually get into the opposition third. Their shots have an average xG of 0.14 whereas Montreal’s have an average of 0.12. So if Vancouver controls possession and outshoots Montreal they should win! The problem is those aren’t things they are usually able to do. If they are to have a chance in this game then Michael Baldisimo and Leonard Owusu will both have to have huge games. They may get the boost of Janio Bikel returning to the lineup, though he is unlikely to be ready for a full 90 minutes.
- Questionable: M - Janio Bikel (left adductor strain)
- OUT: GK - Maxime Crepeau (fractured left thumb, surgery 7/27)
- OUT: D - Jasser Khmiri (undisclosed injury)
- OUT: M - Steeven Saba (left foot injury)
- OUT: M - Matheiu Choiniere (ankle injury)
- OUT: M - Ballou Tabla (adductor injury)
Vancouver (4-3-1-2): Hasal; Adnan, Cornelius, Veselinović, Godoy; Teibert, Baldisimo, Owusu; Milinkovic; Cavallini, Bair
Montreal (3-5-2): Diop; Binks, Camacho, Fanni; Raitala, Wanyama, Piette, Taider, Brault Guillard; Quioto Lappalainnen
Prediction: 2-1 Montreal