This is not your typical game preview. This is not your typical game.
I can use statistics and speak of recent results, or lack there of, for the Impact. I can produce graphs to show trends. I can manipulate those numbers to soften the hard truth. That would be unfair, and a disservice to those who look to us for information.
The truth is, no one worth their salt, can predict what will happen on Saturday afternoon at Saputo Stadium. This team is way too unpredictable, in performance and results.
The once seemingly magical touch of coach Marco Schällibaum is now a kiss of death. His starting 11 and substitutes selections are the subject of second guessing, even from the less initiated; with good reason. The over use of aging players, and lack of vision during the long summer, have shackled the coach and forced him to use green horned rookies in important roles during an intense stretch run and playoff push. Schällibaum is looking over his shoulder; If he's not resigned to the fact that he won't be back already.
If I had a prediction to make, it would be that the press conference announcing his firing will be more entertaining than these last 6 IMFC games... Combined!
I have some numbers that really matter, and I'd like to share them:
0: games in hand left.
1: the number of points the Impact have accumulated in the last 6 games.
3: goals scored during that span.
10: goals allowed over that same span.
2: games remaining in the season before the playoffs.
I can go on, but I'd like to get to it. Despite the gloomy recap, all is not lost. The Impact can book their MLS Cup Playoff ticket with a win vs the Union, coupled with a Crew win over the Revolution. There are other scenarios that would also allow the Impact to move forward, but it all starts with 3 points on Saturday. A loss is a death sentence.
What to expect
- The veterans in the line-up to play with a desperation we haven't seen all season. It's the last game at the fortress, and they want to end it off on a positive note.
- Marco DiVaio to be on a mission.
- The Union be ready for a first half barrage. They'll absorb the pressure, try to bend and not break, and play strictly for the counterattack in the first 30 minutes.
- The team that scores first, will win.
- This going to be a great game.
- I expect to be drinking early!