Carl's Keys to the Game vs. Montreal Impact

The legend talks about having a "must-win mentality"

Carl's Keys vs. Montreal - Marco Di Vaio

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USA Today Sports Images

Highlights: San Jose Earthquakes 0-0 Whitecaps FC

Must-win mentality

We really need to build off last weekend’s match in San Jose, in which we took the game to the Earthquakes on the road and nearly snatched a win.

Getting a draw in Montreal would not be the worst thing in the world and it’s not necessarily a “must-win” game, but we have to approach this important match like it is.

Maybe that’s why we have been so strong at home – the general mindset is that you need to win most of your home games if you want to make the playoffs. Taking the same approach on the road worked against San Jose and we need that same mentality on Saturday.

Considering Montreal will be playing their third game in a week and will have travelled to the West Coast and back, they may find it hard to get their legs going early. If we can start this game aggressively and really push our midfield and fullbacks forward, getting lots of crosses into the box, we may be able to silence the home crowd with the first goal.

This isn’t a must-win game, but as we showed in San Jose, if we approach it as such we will be far better off.

Di Vaio heads home his 18th goal of the season last weekend

Don’t forget about Di Vaio

Marco Di Vaio is a striker who doesn’t need a lot of chances to score. After all, he leads Major League Soccer with 18 goals in 26 appearances this season.

We will have to look to limit the amount of touches he has on the ball, especially in the penalty area. The Italian striker has such a quick release when he’s shooting so it will be important to have one or even two players around him at all times in order to prevent his attempts on goal.

Sometimes, Di Vaio will drift deep or out wide so Vancouver’s whole back four as well as our defensive midfielder will have to be aware of where he is on the field. No one player can shut Di Vaio down on his own – it has to be a team effort.

Di Vaio is a major part of Montreal’s attack and if we can keep him quiet – like we did in both Amway Canadian Championship meetings with Montreal earlier this season – it could result in a big three points.

Camilo and Kobayashi score against Montreal in ACC Final

Confident and clinical

The one thing lacking from our performance in San Jose was execution in front of the net. We obviously have to score to win the game, but the goals have dried up of late.

There’s no better time to turn that around. We need to get good service into the box and have our forwards and midfielders crashing the net. And when we get on the end of these dangerous balls, we have to have more conviction and belief in front of goal. At the same time, we simply need more shots on target.

This isn’t just about the forwards and midfielders, as we will have chances on set plays and defenders will be involved. Whoever it is has to be determined and clinical when they get their chance, because it could be the difference.