New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal Impact
2017 MLS Match Preview
Red Bull Arena – Harrison, New Jersey
Saturday, July 29 – 7:30 pm ET
WATCH: TVAS, MLS LIVE in the US
Following last week’s comprehensive victories against the San Jose Earthquakes and at Minnesota United, the Red Bulls are 7-2-2 in their last 11 matches across all competitions. They’ve outscored their opponents 16-8 in the eight MLS matches in that stretch.
The hot run has been keyed in part by midfielder Sacha Kljestan. The playmaker had a rough first half, but broke out of his slump by scoring his first goal of the year and recording three assists in the wins against the 'Quakes and Loons last week. His helper at Minnesota moved him into third in MLS with nine this season and was his 43rd with New York, pushing him past Thierry Henry for the club’s all-time lead.
“I can’t say I’m not proud,” Kljestan said of breaking Henry’s record. “To move in front of a guy like Thierry Henry is pretty special, and to do it in two and a half years says something. I’m proud of it. I’m happy we got a win overall. I’m proud of my career with the Red Bulls so far, and hopefully it’s just begun.”
Things aren’t as rosy in Montreal. The eighth-place Impact’s inconsistent year continued last Saturday, when they gave up a pair of second-half goals to lose 2-1 at home to FC Dallas. Montreal have won back-to-back games just once this year, and need to start stacking results if they’re to move above the playoff line.
New York Red Bulls
Kljestan isn’t the only Red Bulls midfielder powering New York’s hot streak. Winger Daniel Royer has been on a tear recently, picking up Alcatel MLS Player of the Week honors after recording three goals and an assist in the Red Bulls’ two Week 20 wins and scoring four times in his last three matches.
“He’s now catching more balls and facing their backline instead of having his back to goal,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch told MLSsoccer.com after Royer scored the first goal in New York’s win at Minnesota. “Any attacking player will tell you that they’d rather face the goal than have their back to it. Danny’s in a good way. He loves being here. I say that all the time, because he comes from Austria and, you know, we have connections obviously in Europe. It's how we found him, and he’s been a really good fit. He’s only getting better.”
The Austrian has a history of success against the Impact, scoring his first career MLS goal against them last regular season and assisting on New York’s lone tally in their Eastern Conference Semifinal loss to Montreal in the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs. That should only contribute to his rising level of confidence come Saturday.
“I don’t know [what’s been clicking],” Royer said after Saturday’s win. “It worked out quite well the past few games. I’m happy about that, but it’s a team effort. We’re creating more chances, scoring more goals. We have a lot of goal scorers, and we’re going to go with the flow now.”
- Suspended: Kemar Lawrence (Disciplinary Committee decision)
- International Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT: D - Gideon Baah (broken leg - out for season), M - Mike Grella (knee surgery - out for season); QUESTIONABLE: D - Aurelien Collin (hamstring injury); PROBABLE: D - Connor Lade
Projected Starting Lineup (3-1-2-1-3, left to right): Luis Robles - Damien Perrinelle, Aaron Long, Sal Zizzo - Felipe - Alex Muyl, Tyler Adams - Sacha Kljestan - Daniel Royer, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Sean Davis
The Impact couldn’t build on their midweek win against Philadelphia on Saturday, when Cristian Colman scored a pair of goals – his first in MLS – to sink Montreal in a 2-1 defeat to Dallas.
The story against FCD was somewhat familiar for Montreal, who have had trouble stringing together results and holding leads all year long. The good news for the Impact? Midfielder Ignacio Piatti should be ready to go from the jump on Saturday. The Argentine midfielder missed time due to injury, but returned against FC Dallas with a 59th-minute appearance off the bench. If the All-Star can quickly get in the groove at Red Bull Arena, he and fellow midfield force Blerim Dzemaili could cause serious problems for New York.
- Suspended: None
- International Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT: D - Ambroise Oyongo (right knee surgery 6/13, out 6 months)
Projected Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1, left to right): Evan Bush - Daniel Lovitz, Kyle Fisher, Victor Cabrera, Chris Duvall - Marco Donadel, Patrice Bernier - Ballou Tabla, Blerim Dzemaili, Ignacio Piatti - Matteo Mancosu
- Overall: Red Bulls 8 wins (27 goals) ... Impact 4 wins (19 goals) ... 2 ties
- At New York: Red Bulls 7 wins (21 goals) ... Impact 0 wins (7 goals) ... 0 ties
- Referee: Ricardo Salazar
- Assistant Referees: Jeffrey Greeson, Gianni Facchini
- Fourth Official: Silviu Petrescu