Preview: New York Red Bulls at Montreal Impact

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

Both the New York Red Bulls and Montreal Impact are coming off of inspired victories heading into their Wednesday night encounter at Stade Saputo. The Impact outlasted NYCFC at Yankee Stadium 3-2 while the Red Bulls successfully squashed the Philadelphia Union 3-1 on the road.

Historically speaking, New York have the advantage against their northern rivals. However, Stade Saputo has not been kind to the Red Bulls, evening out the field in this encounter.

The Red Bulls are currently second in the Eastern Conference (9-6-5) with 32 points, trailing only DC United for the top spot. They are also riding a hot streak that has seen them lose all but one match in their last six matches (5-1). Montreal, meanwhile, are in the sixth and final playoff position with 27 pts. (8-8-3).


PROJECTED STARTING XI:

New York Red Bulls (4-2-3-1): Robles; Lade, Ouimette, Miazga, Lawrence; McCarty, Felipe; Zizzo, Davis, BWP; Abang

Montreal Impact (4-2-3-1): Bush; Oyongo, Ciman, Cabrera, Tissot; Reo-Coker, Mallace; Romero, Piatti, Alexander; Oduro

HISTORY/LAST MATCH: Red Bulls lead series 5-2-1. Both teams last faced in the group stages of the CONCACAF Champions League, which saw Montreal advance over New York and CD FAS of El Salvador.

BATTLE TO WATCH: Ciman vs. Abang. Montreal did well to shutdown the high-powered NYCFC offense at Yankee Stadium. If our projections are correct, that now leaves youngster Anatole Abang to take on the same defense at Stade Saputo, facing Ciman in the middle.

X-FACTOR: Home Field. The Red Bulls may have the historical advantage on Montreal, but have struggled in Canada, going 1-2-1 in four encounters against the Impact on the road.


ANALYSIS:

This match will hold a special meaning for two of the Red Bulls’ newest members.

Head coach Jesse Marsch is set to return to Montreal after being unceremoniously dumped by the club two years ago. Felipe is also set to face off against his former club. While both men downplayed their Canadian returns, a result would certainly be sweet for both men after short and tumultuous careers with the Impact.

Montreal has moved on since then, making a run at the CONCACAF Champions League Title and finding their form under Frank Klopas. With dangerous attackers in Oduro, Piatti, Romero and others, Montreal managed to pin back NYCFC at Yankee Stadium and take a crucial early lead on the road.

That will be the game plan against the Red Bulls who will undoubtedly have to compensate for tired players in this second of three matches over the course of seven days. With eyes on New York City FC, expect the Red Bulls to give some starters a rest. The midfield duo of McCarty and Felipe should stay intact, but star player Sacha Kljestan may see the bench in favor of Sean Davis, who has impressed since his stint with the USL NYRBII side.

For Montreal, Eric Alexander and Ambroise Oyongo may surely see time against their former teammates. After all, both were integral parts of the Red Bulls under Mike Petke and will surely bring experience against New York.

However, Montreal will have a balancing act of their own to navigate. Once they play the Red Bulls on Wednesday, they still have to face Eastern Conference leaders, DC United. However, they have two weeks off following this stretch to rest tired legs, which may allow Klopas to field stronger lineups for both encounters.

With both clubs looking towards crucial weekend encounters, expect to see some unpredictable faces on the field come Wednesday night.

Prediction: Red Bulls 1-1 Montreal

 

  • Davis is playing both D-Mid and C-Mid?

  • slowleftarm

    You don’t have BWP in the lineup – is he injured or do you just think they’ll rest him?

    • The realist

      “That will be the game plan against the Red Bulls who will undoubtedly have to compensate for tired players in this second of three matches over the course of seven days. With eyes on New York City FC, expect the Red Bulls to give some starters a rest.”

  • unceremoniously dumped?

    Funny, back in January, the message was that Marsch chose to leave Montreal.

    So to be clear, Marsch was fired after 1 year from the only HC job he ever had and for two years no MLS team, no USL team, no NASL team, no NPSL team, no PDL team (even as an assistant) and no college team (D1, D2 or D3 offered him a head coaching job.