Montreal Impact vs. New York Red Bulls
2017 MLS Regular Season
Stade Saputo – Montreal, Quebec
Saturday June 3 – 7:30 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE, MSG (USA) | TVAS (Canada)
The Montreal Impact will meet the New York Red Bulls on Saturday for the first team since the Impact eliminated the then-No. 1 seed Red Bulls from the Eastern Conference playoffs in a feisty series last fall.
The Impact’s current starting right back, Chris Duvall, was on the Red Bulls team that got eliminated, and acknowledged that the Red Bulls may have a little extra motivation as a result of that loss. However, Duvall himself also admitted the manner of his departure at the end of 2016 left him with a little something to prove as well.
“They drafted me and I spent a lot of time there,” Duvall said to reporters this week. “They left me unprotected in the Expansion Draft so I feel like I have a little of bit of something to prove, to prove my value.”
Further adding to the tense nature of the clash will be the Red Bulls’ approach to defending Impact playmaker Ignacio Piatti. The Argentine was subject to some physical play in a 4-1 win over the Portland Timbers on May 20, but acknowledged it comes with the territory of being a marquee player.
"There's no problem, maybe it leaves more room for Ambroise [Oyongo] to pass behind me or Blerim [Dzemaili] to take advantage. If they put two players on me, there is more space for the others. I like that."
Though Montreal find themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, they have played the fewest games (11) of any team in the league and two fewer than all but one team in the East.
Nonetheless, they’ll have to keep on winning if they want to return to the playoffs. Luckily for head coach Mauro Biello, a first choice starting XI has finally started to take shape after some early season injury bugs. Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla and Kyle Fisher have all stepped up to fill holes in the roster, even to the point where a veteran defender like Victor Cabrera is struggling to regain his spot in the lineup.
Though Montreal have a number of players due to join their national teams, in June, it is unlikely they will miss anyone against the Red Bulls. Their Canadian internationals do not play until June 13, while Oyongo will join his Cameroon teammates on June 4, the day after the game. Center back Laurent Ciman’s status is unclear – Belgium play a friendly against the Czech Republic on June 5 before a World Cup qualifier on June 9.
- Suspended: None
- International Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – M Andres Romero (hamstring injury), F Matteo Mancosu (thigh injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): Evan Bush – Chris Duvall, Laurent Ciman, Kyle Fisher, Ambroise Oyongo – Patrice Bernier, Marco Donadel, Blerim Dzemaili – Dominic Oduro, Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Ignacio Piatti
Notes: Montreal ended a two-game home losing skid with a 4-1 over Portland two weekends ago. It had been 11 regular season home games since they had scored four-or-more goals (5 vs. Philadelphia, July 23, 2016). … The Impact are completing 35.1 percent of their crosses/corners this season, the best percentage in MLS and four percentage points higher than the next closest team.
New York Red Bulls
Red Bulls fullback Kemar Lawrence has been playing with a heavy heart this season following the passing of his grandmother, but he has been channeling that emotion to produce his finest form yet in a New York jersey.
“My grandma was my rock, my best friend. She’s the person I spoke to every day. It’s weird some days when she’s not around,” Lawrence said after delivering the game-winning assist in a much-needed win over New England on Saturday. “I’ve said it to [Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch], I’ve had so much anger lately. I just have to come on game day and express it on the field. Game days you get away from all of that.”
Marsch himself said that Lawrence, who will once again man the left flank for New York against former teammate Duvall, is “playing the best he’s ever played,” while Bradley Wright-Phillips asserted that Lawrence has “easily been our best player.”
- Suspended: None
- International Duty: Tyler Adams (US U-20s)
- Injury Report: OUT – D Gideon Baah (broken leg – out for season); DOUBTFUL: D Aurelien Collin (abdominal strain)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Luis Robles – Sal Zizzo, Damien Perrinelle, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence – Sean Davis, Felipe – Daniel Royer, Sacha Kljestan, Mike Grella – Bradley Wright-Phillips
Notes: New York are on a five-game road losing streak. It is the longest such losing streak since the Red Bulls lost nine straight away games from April 24-July 26, 2009. … Sacha Kljestan has created a team-high 43 chances for New York this season. No teammate has more than 14.
The bad news for Montreal is that the Red Bulls have dominated this series. The good news is that it is entirely thanks to New York’s dominance over Montreal at home. The Impact also won both legs of the two teams’ Eastern Conference Semifinal series in 2016.
- Overall: Montreal 3 wins (18 goals) … New York 8 wins (27 goals) … 2 Ties
- At MTL: Montreal 3 wins (11 goals) … New York 1 win (6 goals) … 2 Ties
Referee: Mark Geiger
Assistant Referees: Logan Brown, Phil Briere
4th Official: Sorin Stoica