Preview: New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal Impact

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by MARK FISHKIN

Another match, and another two points thrown away.

The Red Bulls could be far and away favorites for a third Shield in four seasons — if they could only finish out matches.  At least New York will be playing their next three home matches in the Fortress on the Passaic. With a gaudy 10-2-2 record at home this season, the Red Bulls can all but lock up a first-round playoff bye before traveling to Chester, PA for the final match of the season. Without a shelved Ronald Zubar but with a recovered Dax McCarty, New York will try to continue Montreal’s futile run in Harrison while clinching a playoff spot in the process.


Match Information:

Saturday, September 24th at Red Bull Arena. 7pm ET kickoff

TV/Streaming: MSG/MSG GO (Optimum and xfinity subscribers)

Red Bulls Radio: TuneIn App and www.newyorkredbulls.com/matchday/radio

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez

Record: GF/GA, Division & League Position, Current League Form

New York: 45 points from 30 gms, 52GF/40GA, t-2nd in the East, t-5th in MLS, DWWDD

Montreal: 38 points from 29 gms, 43GF/46GA, 5th in the East, 11th in MLS, DWLDL


Projected Lineups

New York

NYvMTL

Montreal

MTLvNY


The New York Attack vs. the Impact Back Line

Bradley Wright-Phillips vs. Ambroise Oyongo, Laurent Ciman, Hassoun Camara, Donny Toia, and Evan Bush

Bradley Wright-Phillips is ablaze. He’s now the only man in MLS history to record two 20-goal seasons after a scoring a brace in Toronto last week. With four all-time goals against the Impact all coming at Red Bull Arena, BWP will be licking his chops to take the field. The Montreal defense has been woeful of late, conceding eight times over their last three matches. Former Red Bull Ambroise Oyongo (5A) was sent off in the clubs’ last meeting, a three-one New York win on August 13th. Laurent Ciman has posted the second-most minutes on the field for the Impact this season. Hassoun Camara (2G/2A) is a product of the Olympique Marseille academy. Donny Toia (2A) was the first homegrown signing of Real Salt Lake, but never played a match for them. Evan Bush is 19th on the league’s goalkeeping chart with a 1.56 GAA.

Advantage: New York


The Montreal Forward vs. the Red Bulls defense

Didier Drogba vs. Kemar Lawrence, Aurelien Collin, Damien Perrinelle, Chris Duvall, and Luis Robles

Didier Drogba’s scoring numbers have been good this season (10G/5A) as in 2015, but the Ivorian legend has needed twice the appearances to reach the same marks has he did last fall, when the newcomer tore through the league. Drogba has scored in two of the Impact’s last three matches. New York’s defense has conceded 22 of its 40 goals this season after the sixtieth minute, the largest percentage (55%) in the league. With Zubar injured, Perrinelle will need to go the full 90. The rest of the back line will desperately need the midfielders and forward players to possess and push the ball up the field in the final moments of the match in New York is going to grab all three points. Luis Robles has conceded five times in two matches after posting back-to-back clean sheets against New England and Vancouver. Three of the five goals came after the 85th minute.

Slight Advantage: Montreal


The Midfields

Danny Royer, Felipe, Sacha Kljestan, Dax McCarty, and Alex Muyl vs. Harry Shipp, Hernan Bernadello, Nacho Piatti, Marco Donadel, and Lucas Ontivero

With Mike Grella’s form dipping, and Danny Royer’s ascending, look for the Austrian to get another start on the left. While Sean Davis has contributed admirably, look for Dax McCarty to return to the starting lineup. Kljestan will need to continue to power the team before the inevitable call-back to the US National Team in October. Much of the Impact’s success this season has been driven by dangerous number ten Nacho Piatti (14G/5A), but the Argentine has only two goals and zero assists in his last nine matches, and Montreal has gone 2-4-3 over that span. Harry Shipp last scored on July 17th. On loan from Galatasaray, Ontivero has been in and out of the lineup this season, but has started Montreal’s last two matches.

Advantage: New York


The Coaches

If Jesse Marsch wants to become the first New York coach to win silverware in successive seasons, he must divine a way for his club to finish matches. While the undefeated streak rolls on, the Red Bulls can’t continue to throw points away late.  Mauro Biello isn’t getting enough out of star players down the stretch, and the Impact’s playoff positioning is now a question. Biello has to find a win to increase Piatti’s efficiency, and get Drogba quality chances if Montreal is to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Advantage: New York


Intangibles

New York is a perfect 6-0-0 in league play vs. Montreal at Red Bull Arena. Bradley Wright-Phillips has four league matches to try and beat his own league single-season scoring mark of 27 goals. BWP is on track to win the MLS Golden Boot for the second time in three years. New York will clinch a playoff berth with a victory, which would mark the 19th time in 21 seasons the club has qualified for the postseason. Saturday’s kickoff will bring cool fall weather. with clear skies and highs only in the upper sixties. Given the Saturday Night match time, expect a large crowd on hand.

Advantage: New York


Prediction:

New York won’t take the dreaded two-goal lead in this one, but a tight match will see the Red Bulls score late and hold on past some nervy moments to get back in the win column. Goals by Royer and BWP and one by Drogba deliver an entertaining two-one win for the hosts, who just might end up atop the East if other results go New York’s way.