1) Montreal has started to falter as of late, not winning a match in their past five. What's been the biggest reason why?
The flip side of building a team with experienced is that you get experienced legs. Not that the Montreal Impact is not a fit team but it was never known to be a team full of energy and dynamic players, at least in its core. But also other teams have started to figure out how to play the Impact.
Not that Sporting KC needs tips from other teams but it's not just about Alessandro Nesta being older and tired. It's not just about a heavy schedule that everyone else has. The Impact have become predictable in the way it plays and adjustements are needed.
2) What will be the immediate and long term effects of the Impact's latest singing, Hernan Bernardello?
Immediatly, his presence will bolster the Impact's detph in the midfield. But it will also trigger some roster moves internally and externally. Players like Collen Warner who barely had any significant amount of playing time can expect to see that number get smaller. Even with the CONCACAF Champions League starting in 2 weeks, playing time is becoming more scarce.
Is there a place for an important center midfielder who is also the captain of the club? Davy Arnaud is a free agent at end of the season and the club has not commented on whether negotiations are ongoing to extend it.
On the pitch, Hernan Bernardello should bring on paper a combination of athleticism, passing and defensive ethic that the midfield needs. Patrice Bernier prefers the offensive side of the midfield and will need help to stave off attacks. It will also help to stabilize the defensive line with a player that has played 100+ games in La Liga and Spain's second division
Long-term, Bernardello brings to fruition the club's vision to get younger skilled players to the club. This bodes well for a club that has been criticized for only going for older players .
Time will tell what is Bernardello's actual value but on paper, his impact (pun not intended) seems to be on good side for Montreal.
3) Is this game a must-win for Montreal to keep within reach of the top of the East?
It's a must-win period. Reaching for top spot in the East is the only way that the Impact can make the playoffs the right way. Whether it's first or third, Montreal needs to get out of winning-less pace. The rest of the East is starting to catch up and the Impact cannot afford another winless streak in August and September.
You can check out my answers to their questions here, and be sure to check back here all weekend for all previews, recaps and analysis of this weekend's game.