The Chicago Fire are well aware of what Didier Drogba and Ignacio Piatti can do.
Drogba and Piatti make one of the best attack pairings in Major League Soccer for the Montreal Impact and already showed the Fire why.
Back on April 16, Drogba and Piatti both scored at Toyota Park to hand the Fire one of the most disappointing losses of the season. The Fire entered the match at Toyota Park with three straight shutouts and took 1-0 a lead into halftime. Drogba, who subbed on early in the second half, tied it before Piatti scored the game-winner in the 91st minute.
“Of course Drogba and Piatti I think they are really good players so we have to stop them and try to play a bit of counterattack and try to score an early goal,” Fire forward Luis Solignac said. “I think that’s the main key.”
Solignac and the Fire will try to score that early goal in Montreal on Saturday. The match will be televised on CSN+ with coverage beginning at 6 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live.
Midfielder Matt Polster echoed some of Solignac’s words by emphasizing how important it was to limit how many touches Drogba and Piatti receive in space.
“They obviously have a good front line with Drogba and Piatti,” Polster said. “I think if we can break plays up quickly, which would probably be the midfielders’ job when we lose possession, we need to try to win it back quickly or maybe foul right away so they don’t get a quick rhythm or a quick counter on us. I think that’s been a little bit of a key this week.”
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Former Fire midfielder Harry Shipp will be out with a groin injury. Andres Romero and Patrice Bernier are also listed as out with injuries. Defender Ambroise Oyongo will be out due to a yellow card accumulation suspension.
For the Fire, Eric Gehrig is out with a hamstring injury. Nick LaBrocca (quad) and Joao Meira (hamstring) are both listed as questionable.
Montreal (8-6-9, 33 points) is firmly in a playoff position in the Eastern Conference, but is looking to move up to a better spot. Meanwhile, the Fire (4-11-7, 19 points) are still in search of a road win this season and haven’t earned a point on the road in more than four months.
“As long as we have possibilities for playoffs, that’s always going to stay our main goal, especially now after the disappointment of the Open Cup,” Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said. “We still have 12 games in the league that we have possibilities to get to the playoffs. We will do our best to do that.”
Chicago Fire at Montreal Impact
Where: Stade Saputo, Montreal
TV: CSN+ (channel finder)
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday (coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live)