MATCH PREVIEW: Red Bulls vs. Impact

RBNY meet Montreal in crucial conference clash

The New York Red Bulls and Montréal Impact meet in a crucial matchup for playoff placing in the Eastern Conference as the clubs face off Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls have a slim one-point hold on fifth place and the final playoff spot in the division, coming off a 1-0 loss at the Chicago Fire two weeks ago. The Impact are 11 points behind the Red Bulls after putting an end to their seven-game losing skid last weekend with a 1-0 win against Chicago.

REFEREE: Sorin Stoica. AR1 (bench): Craig Lowry; AR2 (opposite): Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho; 4th: Robert Sibiga
MLS Career: 25 games; FC/gm: 28.2; Y/gm: 4.3; R: 13; pens: 15

SUSPENDED: none WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Jamison Olave … MTL: Matteo Ferrari, Karl Ouimette
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Thierry Henry, Armando, Tim Cahill, Ibrahim Sekagya … MTL: Hernan Bernardello, Felipe Martins, Andres Romero, Dilly Duka, Krzysztof Krol DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (7 meetings): Red Bulls 4 wins, 16 goals … Impact 2 wins, 10 goals … Ties 1
AT NEW YORK: (3 meetings): Red Bulls 3 wins, 11 goals … Impact 0 wins, 3 goals … Ties 0

2014 (MLS):
4/5: MTL 2, NY 2 (Romero 5; Martins 59 – Steele 31; Luyindula 34)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. The Impact’s Andrés Romero and Justin Mapp bookended goals by New York’s Jonny Steele and Peguy Luyindula to leave the teams in a 2-2 draw, April 5 in Montréal.
  • The Red Bulls have won all three home meetings with the Impact. They claimed the only road victory in the all-time series, a 2-1 win at Stade Saputo on May 19. 2012.
  • The teams have also been drawn against each other in the CONCACAF Champions League. They will play at Stade Saputo on Sept. 17, completing Group 2 play against each other Oct. 22 at Red Bull Arena.
  • Coaches record: Frank Klopas vs. NY: P8 W3 L2 T3 … Mike Petke vs. MTL: P4 W2 L1 T1

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • Montreal got off to a glorious start. From the midfield, Felipe slipped the ball behind the New York back line for Andrés Romero, who curled it in off the far post.
  • But the Red Bulls pulled even in the 31st minute. Lloyd Sam hooked a cross from the right over Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins for an onrushing Jonny Steele, who deftly volleyed the ball into an empty net.
  • New York took the lead three minutes later, as Steele took advantage of a giveaway, swiftly putting Péguy Luyindula through on goal, who made no mistake by powering his shot past Perkins.
  • The Red Bulls had a tremendous chance to double the lead early in the second half when Matteo Ferrari brought Bradley Wright-Phillips down in the penalty area. But Luyindula rifled the resulting spot kick squarely off the right post, and Eric Alexander skied the rebound.
  • But the Impact found the leveler in the 59th minute. Felipe hit a pass into the right corner where Justin Mapp ran it down, and then continued racing into the box, where he timed his run perfectly to nod home the Mapp cross.
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Troy Perkins - Eric Miller, Matteo Ferrari, Hassoun Camara, Heath Pearce - Hernan Bernardello (Patrice Bernier 72), Collen Warner - Justin Mapp, Felipe Martins (Santiago Gonzalez 90), Andres Romero (Blake Smith 85) - Marco Di Vaio.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Kosuke Kimura, Ibrahim Sekagya, Armando (Matt Miazga 84), Roy Miller (Dax McCarty 46) - Lloyd Sam, Bobby Convey, Eric Alexander, Jonny Steele - Peguy Luyindula (Connor Lade 90), Bradley Wright-Phillips.

NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls return to action after seeing their three-game undefeated run come to an end last time out, falling 1-0 to the Chicago Fire on Aug. 10 at Toyota Park. The Red Bulls are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 28 points from 23 matches on the season.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came in the 38th minute. After referee Ted Unkel awarded a penalty kick, Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles saved the initial effort from Mike Magee. But the rebound fell perfectly for Magee, who passed into the open side of the goal.
  • Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was credited with four saves for the match, though he did not have to make one in the opening 45 minutes.
  • Red Bulls boss Mike Petke made one change to the team that defeated the New England Revolution 2-1 at Red Bull Arena. Eric Alexander came into the team in place of the suspended Matt Miazga.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Chris Duvall, Ibrahim Sekagya, Roy Miller, Ambroise Oyongo - Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill (Peguy Luyindula 83), Eric Alexander (Bobby Convey 80) - Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Red Bulls were shut out at the attacking end for the third time this season, the first since May 17. It was the second time this season they lost by a 1-0 scoreline.
  • “It was a very frustrating game, very frustrating game. It is one of those games that has happened to us a number of times this year. Are we a better team? Yes, we are a better team, but it doesn’t matter in this league or these games,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. “… The urgency I saw from my team was only in the five to seven minutes after that goal. Other than that, it’s just going and playing through the motions and a little bit of spurts here and there.”
  • It also extended the Red Bulls’ road winless streak to four games. They are 2-5-6 this season away from Red Bull Arena.
  • “We’re going down to 11 games left and we have Champions League so it’s going to be a pretty tough stretch,” said goalkeeper Luis Robles. “I think we need this break. It’s come at a good time. We will go back, we will regroup, we will retrain and take some time off and get ready for Montreal.”
  • With the shutout, Bradley Wright-Phillips did not net a goal for the second time in three games. He has not gone back-to-back league games without a goal since April 16, when he finished a six-game goalless drought after scoring in the season opener.
  • “A lot of those balls from Bradley, coming from Thierry, and Thierry is a phenomenal passer of the ball. I think when those things click and everything clicks, you get the best of Thierry and Bradley,” Petke said. “I just felt that we had a bit of the possession in large chunks, but with no intent. Which is willingness to play the ball backwards and keep the ball and we have to get opportunities out of that and I think those couple of opportunities that Bradley had, we need more of those.”
  • With Matt Miazga suspended, Roy Miller shifted inside to play central defense in his third consecutive start after returning from the Costa Rican national team and the World Cup (and a resulting injury). Ambroise Oyongo moved back to left back after wide on the left of midfield in the New England match.
  • Following the New England game, the Red Bulls obtained striker Saër Sene from the Revolution in exchange for striker André Akpan.
  • Eric Alexander returned to the starting lineup on the left of midfield after coming off the substitutes’ bench in the New England game, the first since March 30 he had not started a league game.
  • “I think he’s a very versatile player as far as attacking-wise. I think a two-forward system suits him better than a lone-forward system that a lot of times you find New England was playing. Out wide, yes, he has the pace, he has the skill and he likes to get forward, which is something that I like. We want our attacking players to look to get forward first and then play the safe option second,” said Petke. “At the end of the day, it’s a like-for-like trade. We feel like we got quality in this trade and somebody who has the experience and has shown in the past his ability to be very dangerous. Whether that be up top or whether that be out wide, we’re confident that we’re getting somebody that is going to help us out.”

MONTREAL IMPACT
The Montréal Impact put an end to their seven-game losing skid, defeating the Chicago Fire 1-0 on Saturday evening at Stade Saputo. The Impact are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 17 points from 23 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The game lone goal came in the 84th minute. Maxim Tissot's smart pass found rookie left back Eric Miller in the Fire penalty area. The ball was tackled away but bounced for Marco Di Vaio at the top of the box, and he put a clinical finish past goalkeeper Sean Johnson into the far inside netting.
  • Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush was called upon to make two saves as they put an end to their losing slide.
  • Impact head coach Frank Klopas made five changes to the team that fell 2-1 to Philadelphia Union at PPL Park.
  • Evan Bush came back in between the posts in place of Troy Perkins, and Hassoun Camara, Dilly Duka, Ignacio Piatti and Marco Di Vaio all came into the team, in place of Krzysztof Krol, Felipe Martins, Andres Romero and Jack McInerney.
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Evan Bush - Hassoun Camara, Wandrille Lefevre, Matteo Ferrari, Eric Miller - Gorka Larrea, Patrice Bernier (Felipe Martins 46) - Justin Mapp (Maxim Tissot 74), Dilly Duka, Ignacio Piatti (Andres Romero 54) - Marco Di Vaio.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Impact put an end to their seven-game losing run, their longest since coming into MLS. The club’s MLS record winless run is eight games, set over the last game of the 2013 season and first seven games this year.
  • “We wanted to open them up and move the ball quicker,” said Impact head coach Frank Klopas. “We had opportunities and options to play out of the back. We knew it was going to be a big game, so we didn’t underestimate them at all ... In the end we gave out a quality performance which gave us a great victory.”
  • Marco Di Vaio netted his fifth goal of the season, his first since July 19 when he scored in back-to-back games against Kansas City and Columbus.
  • Evan Bush returned between the posts after Troy Perkins had started the last two matches, and recorded his first league shutout of the season (he did have a shutout in both the Canadian Championship and CONCACAF Champions League).
  • “There weren’t that many chances that we gave them and fought well for the ball. We had a good side to side movement and Wandrille [Lefevre] and Matteo [Ferrari] did a very good job to hold the back up,” Bush said.
  • Newly-signed Designated Player Ignacio Piatti made his Impact and MLS debut, starting on the left of midfield and playing 54 minutes, following his arrival from Copa Libertadores winners San Lorenzo of Argentina.
  • “We tried to make a couple of combinations but it’s not easy for him because he’s arriving in a team that has a lot of confidence issues,” said Di Vaio. “For the past month and a half we’ve been playing better and taking the points we learnt and applying them on the field. So it’s not easy for him to come in our team at this point so I think that with his arrival here it might help the team’s confidence even more.”
  • Said Piatti: “As my first game I think that I played well and that the team had a solid performance and played well together. I knew about MLS beforehand and knew the style of play so there was no surprise for me, but I still will have to adapt my style of play to that of MLS.”
  • Dilly Duka made his first start for the club since his arrival from the Chicago Fire, playing in the attacking central midfield role. Duka had come off the bench in his first two Montréal appearances.
  • On Wednesday, the Impact made it two wins from two matches in the CONCACAF Champions League with a 3-2 victory against CD F.A.S. of El Salvador at Estadio Cuscátlan in San Salvador. Andrés Romero and Marco Di Vaio scored within the opening eight minutes to send the Impact on their way; after F.A.S. leveled terms early in the second half, Di Vaio converted a penalty kick on the hour for the game-winner.
  • Here’s the Impact team: Evan Bush; Karl W. Ouimette, Wandrille Lefèvre (Issey Nakajima-Farran 71’), Matteo Ferrari, Krzysztof Krol; Patrice Bernier, Felipe, Andrés Romero, Dilly Duka (Calum Mallace 46’), Ignacio Piatti; Marco Di Vaio (Maxim Tissot 76’)