Red Bulls and Impact Meet for First Place Battle at Red Bull Arena (Wednesday, 7:30 PM, MSG+)

The New York Red Bulls take a three-game win streak back home to Red Bull Arena Wednesday night when they face off against the Montreal Impact at 7:30 PM (Watch live on MSG+, starting with the 7:00 PM pre-game show).

In this season’s prior meeting between the two sides, Montreal edged out New York by a slim margin, after an early goal from forward Marco Di Vaio in the 13th minute was all the Impact needed to secure three points in a 1-0 win.

Although the end result marked New York’s second loss of the season, Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke was encouraged by the way his team played at Olympic Stadium. The final score line may be the only statistic that mattered in the end, but his team’s performance outside of that one goal allowed is a positive takeaway.

“I thought we did very well when we went to Montreal last time,” Petke told reporters after Tuesday’s training session. “I think we - possession wise, statistically shooting, opportunity wise - I believe that we were ahead in all the categories. And like I said before, I’m not a big stats guy, but you get that every week, stats do tell a little bit of a story.”

The Impact, currently tied with the Red Bulls for first place in the East with a total of 17 points, are most recently coming off a 2-2 performance against the San Jose Earthquakes. Montreal midfielder Justin Mapp picked up two goals for his side to open up the match, but the Earthquakes rallied back to draw level by the final whistle, leaving each side with just one point. Montreal’s last win came on Apr. 27, a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire.

Last season, Montreal failed to earn a win until Apr. 7, a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC. At that point in the season the club had played in six total matches, accumulating only three points along the way.

Since this year’s Mar. 2 season opener, a 1-0 win over Seattle, Montreal has pieced together an impressive 5-1-2 record. The results are night and day compared to last season, and Montreal fans aren’t the only ones noticing.

“What happened last season is they were too far behind to come back to grab a playoff spot, but to me they were the best team last year and at one point they were the best team in the Eastern Conference. And they’re showing that this year,” said Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry.

Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill, who missed the previous match against Montreal due to international duty, is anxious to take on the Canadian side for the first time this year.

“Overall they’re going to come here and play some nice football,” he said. “I think they’re going to sit back a bit. They like to have a lot of the ball and I suppose it’s a night for some good football and we’ll see whether we can come out on top with our extra bit of quality as well.”

New York and Montreal kick off on MSG+ Wednesday at 7:30 PM. Tickets are available at Red Bulls Ticket Central, or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.


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