MIAMI, Fla. (February 19, 2020) —
The MLS regular season is still days away but the Impact de Montréal and new manager Thierry Henry will face a major challenge tonight in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.
Montréal faces Deportivo Saprissa at 8 p.m. at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Aymá in San José, Costa Rica. Montreal qualified for the tournament by winning the 2019 Voyageurs Cup to beome Canadian Champions.
Henry spoke about his team and Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 series
“What you want to see from the team is obviously trying to bring something back home,” Henry said. “It’d be great not to concede and score, right? I’ve seen ties also where teams have done that away and lost at home, I’ve seen teams winning well at home and losing badly away. You can never tell, as you say, there are two ties and you can’t get carried away with anything.”
Henry surely has a lot of first-hand knowledge about continental tournaments garnered during his days as a player with Arsenal and FC Barcelona and games in the UEFA Champions League.
He spoke cautiously about what might transpire tonight: “It’s very difficult to talk about what can happen,” Henry said. “I’ve been in some games in my life where you think you’re going through and you’re not. I’ve been in some games where you think you’re not going to and you do. So, you have to play the game on the field. It’s two legs, don’t rush it, play it like it is.”
Thus far, Montréal’s preseason doesn’t give the casual observer much reason to hope of making it through this round. Questions abound about the attack. With the departure of Nacho Piatti to San Lorenzo, the team’s 1-4-0 record in preseason and the fact that the Impact did not score in three of those matches, there is good reason to be concerned. Very concerned.
“[Saprissa] have great players who can open you up at any time, tactically they’re very sound,” Henry said. “They can keep the ball well, very aggressive like you expect from this type of team. What I expect from my team is trying to be competitive, battle and see what we can bring back home.”
If they can somehow survive in Costa Rica without being throughly dismantled, a home game awaits in the return leg next Wednesday at the Stade Olympique in Montréal, where the Impact play its early season home games until the weather warms up enough to play outdoors at Stade Saputo.