Heavy snow in Montreal postponed Sounders FC’s regularly scheduled road game Saturday against the Impact, but an improved weather forecast has the teams ready to face off at 1 p.m. Sunday.
The game was delayed 24 hours since Olympic Stadium, Montreal’s indoor venue, is restricted from hosting events with more than three centimeters (1.2 inches) of snow accumulation on the roof.
Sunday’s forecast is cold (with a high of 17 degrees) but clear.
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That’s the good news. The bad news is both teams will be without arguably their most influential players.
Seattle star Clint Dempsey was issued a two-game suspension Friday by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for a low blow to Toronto FC defender Mark Bloom last week. For the Impact, forward Marco Di Vaio will be serving the last of his three-game ban dating to a fracas with the Houston Dynamo in the 2013 playoffs.
Di Vaio’s absence has been particularly noticeable in Montreal’s 0-2 start; the 37-year-old Italian scored 20 goals last season, third-most in the league, and was named to the MLS Best XI.
Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid described Di Vaio this week as a “cold-blooded sniper.”
“He’s a guy who with very few chances makes the most of it and buries things,” Schmid said. “Do the other (Impact) forwards have the same cutting edge that he does? That’s the reason he keeps playing, because his cutting edge is better than theirs. But they’re still a very good team.”
The Sounders should need no convincing of Montreal’s quality, having been swept in two MLS meetings.
The first was a 4-1 beating midway through the 2012 season as the Impact unveiled the newly renovated Saputo Stadium. Last year, Montreal came to Seattle and stunned the Sounders, 1-0, in their home opener at CenturyLink Field.
Schmid wasn’t reading too much into the one-sided nature of the series, agreeing with a question that referred to it as a “crazy-small sample size.”
He added: “Sometimes it just happens that way; you flip a coin twice, sometimes it comes up head twice.”
Sample size also comes into play when discussing Sounders FC’s performance on the road. The team has been historically good, earning 111 points away from home since joining MLS in 2009, second-most in the league in that span.
Seattle, though, is coming off by far its worst road season, having gone 5-10-2 in 2013 while being outscored 27-13.
“Everything goes in ebbs and flows,” said Schmid. “Last year wasn’t maybe our best year on the road, but in general we’ve always been a good road team.”
• More than 25,000 tickets have been sold, which would rank second leaguewide for home openers, but the weather and postponement could affect the turnout.
• Montreal is 20-8-6 at home in MLS and 4-1-3 at Olympic Stadium when including the Canadian Championship. Impact players ruled out due to injury are ex-Sounder Sanna Nyassi (knee), and defenders Nelson Rivas (thigh), Maxim Tissot (shoulder) and Adrian Lopez (knee). Forward Andres Romero is also completing a three-game suspension from the incident in the playoffs.
|Away we go|
The Sounders haven’t won a road opener since 2009 or even scored in one since 2010.
|2013||San Jose||L, 1-0|
|2012||D.C. United||T, 0-0|
|2011||New York||L, 1-0|
|2010||Real Salt Lake||T, 2-2|
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184
On Twitter @joshuamayers