Monday, February 23, 2009

Montreal Impact - Santos: Monday Preview

If you're looking for a just-the-facts-Jack preview of Wednesday's big match, with links to all the Canadian news stories, Joe Ross at the Footy Blog has already gone through the trouble of collecting those into a single post. Most notably entertaining of the articles linked is the Gareth Wheeler preview from the Toronto Sun, Believe the hype: Soccer madness hits Montreal.

Wheeler obviously holds a grudge, and the object of that grudge is a certain chance-wasting high-jersey-numbered striker that was on the TFC roster for most of last season:
Come Wednesday, Toronto FC supporters will be asking themselves: 'What if?'

What if former TFC striker Jeff Cunningham could have buried that sitter he made a meal of last July to qualify TFC for the next round of the CONCACAF Champions League?

If so, TFC might have progressed past a knockout round and a group stage to make it to the quarterfinal. And if it did, would it be playing in front of a full house at the Rogers Centre this Wednesday?

That question won't be answered for another year -- and you can blame Cunningham.

[... concluding paragraph now]

Regardless what their future holds, on Wednesday, the Impact will be Canada's team, while TFC supporters will continue to curse the name 'Cunningham'.
I love it!

But cribbing Canadian news articles isn't what I'm all about. Let it never be said that I don't go the extra mile for my readers. In this case several thousand miles. I've gone south of the border, and then south of the next border, to find you a preview of the match from the Mexican press.

Quieren impactar al Santos Laguna from a newspaper in Durango, takes a look at Montreal's team from a Mexican perspective. Spanish (or "Mexican", as George W would say it), isn't one of the languages I can claim to read, but even I was hip to the jive that the headline is clearly a play on the name "Impact" (It amounts to "They want to hit [or impact] Santos Laguna"). I guess the lazy headline writers/bad punsters are a fixture that crosses language barriers.

Unfortunately, when I got around to translating this bad boy, it turns out that Mexicans are even lazier than we all assumed, as it is merely the translated Impact press release detailing their 3-1 win over the Trois Rivières Attak (Montreal's reserve side) in a warm-up match.

(As you can tell, I've taken a stream of consciousness, or at least stream of browsing, approach with this post. Since there's nothing new in that article, I'm stuck. I'm in deep, and have wasted too much of my day to throw it on the discard heap).

With nothing substantive to report on from down Mexico way, here are some photos of what Olympic stadium looks like, configured for soccer.

Will those house frames, at bottom left, be around for game time?



4 out of 6 guys in this warmup line are rocking some pretty serious soccer hair.


The 24th minute rightly points out that much of the focus in the lead up to this match has been on the ticket sales (guilty!), and gives a pretty sobering analysis of the Impact's chances. When he's on about USL-1 teams, I'm never sure whether he's drawing on realism or bitterness. Probably a little of both.

I have no club allegiances of my own (I'm trying to turn myself into a Vancouver Whitecaps guys this year -- a New Year's resolution of sorts) so I can maintain a steady diet of sunshine and rainbows and pretend that Montreal's going all the way.


Another article that Joe Ross missed is a Jason De Vos blog post. He uses the first half of his piece to ponder whether Don Garber isn't kicking himself for shutting the door on Montreal's MLS bid. He (rightly, I think) conjectures that whoever is announced as the next franchises, likely sometime in March, won't be handing over the full $40m (US) expansion fee. So, in that case, why not Montreal.


Commenter Zapataloco adds, on the subject of Mexican coverage of the match:
Looking at papers from Coahuila today reveals that Santos coach Daniel Guzman doesn't even know if they'll be playing under a covered stadium outdoors.

There has been absolutely no scouting on the part of Santos, they just figure the Impact will play long-ball physical football.

All player comments suggest overconfidence in themselves and underestimation of their opponents.

Santos Laguna's official website doesn't even see fit to mention wednesdays game in montreal.

It's looking like they're not taking this one seriously at all.

by

Zapatoloco from Montreal.

Useful stuff, and I hope it's true, particularly the bit about thinking they are playing outside. I haven't had any Mexican readers recently, so clearly they aren't scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to learning everything possible about Montreal, the stadium, and the match.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looking at papers from Coahuila today reveals that Santos coach Daniel Guzman doesn't even know if they'll be playing under a covered stadium outdoors.

There has been absolutely no scouting on the part of Santos, they just figure the Impact will play long-ball physical football.

All player comments suggest overconfidence in themselves and underestimation of their opponents.

Santos Laguna's official website doesn't even see fit to mention wednesdays game in montreal.

It's looking like they're not taking this one seriously at all.

by

Zapatoloco from Montreal.

Anonymous said...

...the "house frames" are temporary stands being set up for extra seating. I doubt they would build these if they were lying about estimated attendance as many seem to believe.

Zapatoloco.

J said...

Thanks, Z. This is valuable info and I will include it in the main post.

Anonymous said...

Guzman said he thought the stadium might be covered but he wasn't sure !!

Guzman and many players were quoted as saying they had no idea what kind of club they would be facing.

For example:

"Admite "Lorito" Jiménez no saber nada del Impact de Montreal"

" "Lorito" Jimenez admits he knows nothing of the Montreal Impact"

"Nada sabemos, muy poco, pero eso no importa ..."

" We don't know anything, very little, but thats not important..."

http://sdpnoticias.com/sdp/contenido/2009/02/23/338263


So i figure from this that there was literally no scouting at all.

They are aware that it might not be a cakewalk because they were trounced by the Islanders in the opening round.

They also seem to want to field a serious line-up according to Milenio.com:
http://www.milenio.com/node/172702

Probables alineaciones

Santos:

-Oswaldo Sánchez.
-Osmar Mares.
-Juan Pablo Santiago.
-Rafael Figueroa.
-Jorge Iván Estrada.
-Juan Pablo Rodríguez.
-Walter Jiménez.
-Fernando Arce.
-Daniel Ludueña.
-Christian Benítez.
-Matías Vuoso.

Coach Guzman said on Sunday that Benitez and Vuoso will be starting the Match.

So it looks like they will take this seriously on the field even though their scouting and general preparation have been lacking.

http://www.milenio.com/node/172702

ac said...

hello, Santos doesn't give a damn bout this match and this tournament that's why impact has a chance on wednesday, but believe me in Mexico santos will masacre impact.

Anonymous said...

well they are playing their top squad. And judging by the articles I have read in Saltillo and Torreon papers this game still has high expectations. You can be certain that playing infront of 50,000 won`t bother these guys much...they play at the Azteca a couple times per year.

IF the Impact manage to squeek out a result it will be a VERY different affair in mexico, because Santos have some of the best fans (and also probably the nicest facilities in mexico)...so you can be sure it will take on alot more importance.