The Montreal Impact have struggled during their inaugural MLS season despite a string of high profile signings. They currently sit seventh in the East (24 points) with a paltry 7-13-3 record. They host the first place New York Red Bulls Saturday night on the heels of a 2-5 record over their past seven matches.
To make matters worse, they have yet to beat New York in two meetings (both home and away), getting outscored 7 to 3 in the process.
For Red Bulls’ captain Thierry Henry, those numbers can be deceiving,
“The game against them (in Montreal), we should and could have been 3 or 4-1 down at halftime,” Henry said. “How many chances they missed – we got a lucky penalty, let’s be honest.”
After surviving a tough first half, and receiving a generous penalty call, New York carried a draw into the second and were able to overcome the expulsion of Victor Palsson (two yellow card infractions) with a Dane Richards goal and a solid defensive effort to take home three points on the road.
“They can play,” Henry stated. “They have some guys that have been in the league for a little while. We’ll see. It’s a hard one for us. Montreal can definitely play.”
Besides their current dip in form, Montreal is undergoing another tumultuous situation as well – one New York can relate to. Turnover has always been a constant with the Red Bulls and this season is no different. With the recent trade for Sebastian Le Toux, the ouster of Dane Richards and the acquisition of Tim Cahill, New York and Montreal face a similar and daunting task of making pieces fit effectively into a new system.
Italian great Alessandro Nesta debuted in a midweek friendly against French power Lyon, while Marcos Di Vaio continues to try and find his footing.
As someone who has been through the kind of grandiose roster changes that are currently shaking the Impact’s foundation, Henry had a simple message to the fans of Montreal.
“You have to give them time,” he said. “You have to give Di Vaio time, he just arrived. I went through the same thing. Nesta … you’ve got to give them time to get together.
“The owner is doing something great bringing great names to the game. They just need to click and work well together.
“I think Nesta is going to be amazing for them, even Di Vaio; you just need to let him get into his rhythm,” he added, before flashing a smile and saying, “… after our game.”
Henry was a killer in his lone appearance against the Impact, scoring a hat trick and notching an assist at Red Bull Arena back in March. Injuries kept him out from their May tilt.
This will be his first regular season appearance in Montreal.