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Sutton returns to Montreal with starting spot on his mind

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — The New York Red Bulls' friendly against Montreal on Wednesday will be a homecoming of sorts for Red Bulls goalkeeper Greg Sutton.

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Sutton was the starting goalkeeper for the Impact from 2001-06, making more than 130 starts for the USL club.

Five years removed, things have changed for both parties. Sutton went on to find success in MLS with Toronto FC and now the Red Bulls, while the Impact are getting ready to enter MLS in 2012.

But Sutton — who took the field against Montreal once while with TFC in 2008 during a Nutrilite Canadian Championship match — doesn’t feel overly emotional about the match.

“They have a good franchise going, they’re growing and seem to be doing well,” the Canadian international told MLSsoccer.com this week. “But it’s not on my mind, it isn’t in my thoughts. I’m focused more on the season than on any returns or reception from the fans or anything like that.”

Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe has said that Sutton will start on Wednesday, the goalkeeper’s first action since Week 1.

Following a shutout win over Seattle to open the season, Sutton suffered a concussion the next week and was held out of the next two matches due to the side effects of the injury.

Sutton’s injury opened the door for Bouna Coundoul to step into the starting position, a role the Senegalese ‘keeper held last season. Sutton’s concussion and New York’s recently strong form defensively — the club has allowed just one goal over the past four games — means Sutton has found himself on the bench again.

“I’ve been 100 percent for a couple weeks," Sutton said. "I’ve been happy with how I’ve been practicing and performing right now in training. I think my form from preseason has carried over to now. But timing is everything in sports, and it is frustrating given how I was playing. But with things like this, you can’t look back.”

Wednesday night gives Sutton a chance to not only stay sharp but perhaps make a statement that he should be included in the starting XI.

“It is obviously a good opportunity for me,” Sutton said. “I feel good, I feel ready to play. I can’t wait to get on the field again and show what I’ve got.”