Impact head to Seattle with promising west coast record

Montreal Impact's Dominic Oduro, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring against the New York Red Bulls during second half MLS soccer action in Montreal Saturday, March 12, 2016.
Montreal Impact's Dominic Oduro, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring against the New York Red Bulls during second half MLS soccer action in Montreal Saturday, March 12, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL – For a second game in a row, the Montreal Impact will be visiting a team that is hungry for victories.

Two weeks ago, the Impact (2-1-0) came out flat and lost 2-0 to an FC Dallas side that was coming off a 5-0 loss to the rival Houston Dynamo.

They head to Seattle for a game Saturday night against a team that has lost its first three games of the regular season, including two at home.

The Sounders’ losing run is four in a row if you count a loss to Club America in CONCACAF Champions League play on March 2.

“There are a lot of similarities there,” said Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush.

“It’s a team that’s underperforming at the moment but it’s also a very dangerous team. It’s a team with a lot of good pieces. We need to play a little more confidently, be on the ball a little more than we were in Dallas. Make them doubt. They’ve had three games and haven’t won, so if they get down they’ll start to doubt a bit.”

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READ MORE: Ignacio Piatti leads Montreal Impact past New York Red Bulls 3-0

The Impact won’t have scoring ace Didier Drogba, who shuns artificial surfaces such as the one at CenturyLink Field.

The 38-year-old’s only appearance this season was 20 minutes on grass in Dallas.

He sat out a 3-2 win in Vancouver and a 3-0 home win over the New York Red Bulls on synthetic fields.

But the Impact bring their strong record in the Pacific Northwest and a knack for playing well in front of large crowds.

Montreal’s only other visit since joining Major League Soccer was when they opened the 2013 season with wins of 1-0 in Seattle and a 2-1 victory in Portland, Ore.

They are 1-3-0 overall against the Sounders in MLS play.

Seattle led MLS with average home attendance of 44,247 last season, but that likely won’t put off the Impact.

Big performances in Mexico and Costa Rica helped them reach the CONCACAF final in 2015.

And 1-0 win over New England before 42,947 at Gillette Stadium last October clinched a playoff spot.

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“It’s not Azteca Stadium (in Mexico City), and in Costa Rica you felt in danger,” said Bush.

“It’s not like that in Seattle. It’s more of a fun place to play. The city enjoys it. You walk around the city the day before the game and everyone’s wearing the ‘rave’ green. The comparisons stop there.”

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Forward Dominic Oduro called CenturyLink “a very hostile environment.

“Everyone knows in Seattle that even if you get a result you’re probably going to struggle through it. Discipline is something we have to keep focused on. We learned that in Dallas. Our emphasis is on that. We talked about it in the locker-room.”

The Impact will likely be without injured left back Ambroise Oyongo, so Hassoun Camara should get a second start in a row.

There was also concern for centre back Laurent Ciman, who turned an ankle in practice last week. If the Belgian veteran can’t go, academy product Wandrille Lefevre should play.

Holding midfielder Marco Donadel is also to miss a second game in a row.

The Sounders, who lost star forward Obafemi Martins to a Chinese club in the off-season, have struggled to score.

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But former Fulham and Tottenham striker Clint Dempsey is coming off a one goal, one assist performance for the U.S. national team against Guatemala this week.

They hope to have captain and defender Brad Evans back after missing two games with a shoulder injury.

Veteran forward Herculez Gomez, who signed last week, may make his Sounders debut.

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