mls Game Preview - Montreal v Chicago

 
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The Montreal Impact have not made staying above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference look easy. Their recent poor play on the road has been a major issue.

The Impact will look to keep their season-high road losing streak from reaching six games Saturday night against the Chicago Fire.

Montreal (10-12-3) enters this matchday sixth in the Eastern Conference, tied on 33 points with seventh-place New England and one point ahead of Toronto FC, which resides just below the line. The Impact are 1-5-0 in MLS action since June 29, and must find a way to rebound from a 6-3 loss at Colorado last weekend.

They benefited from an early Colorado own goal, but allowed four goals before halftime. Max Urruti and Saphir Taider scored to make it 4-3 and give Montreal a fighting chance, but the Rapids were not done and the visitors were unable to counter.

"It hurts a lot, but we still have everything to play for," defender Daniel Lovitz told the Impact's official website. "This is obviously a performance we'll look at again and take something from it that will hopefully point us in the right direction and improve us."

Montreal should have some confidence after beating Cavalry FC in Wednesday night's Canadian Championship semifinals. That match also marked the return of talented midfielder Samuel Piette, who had been out since July 13 with an abdominal injury.

The Impact have been outscored 16-8 during their five-game road slide, and will try to avoid losing six straight away from home for the second consecutive season. However, Montreal has a chance to do the season double over Chicago after winning 1-0 at home April 28.

Below the playoff line in the East, the Fire (6-10-9) have one win over their last six home contests (1-1-4) but snapped an 0-17-6 road rut with last weekend's 1-0 victory at Houston. Nemanja Nikolic came through with the only goal of the game in the third minute of first-half stoppage time.

"It was very important," Nikolic, who has seven league goals this season, told the Fire's official website. "A very important moment for us. We're in the last part of the season, and we're in a situation where we don't have control in our hands and we need to collect points."

The Fire have won back-to-back games only once this season, May 8 and 11.

Chicago and Montreal did make a deal this week, with the Fire acquiring midfielder Michael Azira and a draft pick from the Impact, who received defender Jorge Corrales. Montreal also picked up homegrown midfielder Ballou Tabla on loan and Bojan Krkic, both who have ties to Barcelona.

Updated August 8, 2019

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