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What we know and what we don't: Montreal Impact

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In which we examine New York's second match of the CCL group stage.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Woof.  It's been a rough week in RBNY land.  After two crucial wins against eastern conference leaders Sporting Kansas City and DC United, the New York Red Bulls squandered a lead in the dying moments of their away match to the Philadelphia Union.   Sure, a point on the road is a positive result, but the draw felt like a loss in a playoff race where two extra points can make all of the difference.   On top of the disappointment over Saturday's draw, the team's front office announced at the beginning of the week that they will not be fielding their own USL-Pro side for the 2015 season.  The news has not been taken well by the RBNY faithful.  So, after a three game stretch that, by all accounts, should be considered a success (who wouldn't take seven points out of nine?), it appears as though team spirits are not where they need to be.  Hopefully the Red Bulls can raise those spirits tonight, when they go into their second match of the CONCACAF Champions League, which also happens to be their fourth match in eleven days, against a familiar foe, the Montreal Impact.

Here's what we know:

  • Montreal is all in on CCL.
The Impact has been all but eliminated from the MLS regular season playoff race.  That means the only thing that Montreal has to play for is this year's CCL trophy.  They will be taking tonight's match very seriously.   Already resting some key starters during last weekend's games, the Impact will be fielding their strongest starting eleven possible.  Having won their first two group stage matches against CD Fas, they can essentially wrap up the group with a win tonight.  It's safe to expect a fired up team, playing at home in front of a passionate supporters base in Stade Saputo.

  • New York is not....
September has been and continues to be an absolutely brutal month for the Red Bulls.   Practically playing a match every four days for four weeks straight is enough to make any MLS side beg for nap time, but it's something that New York has been forced to do.  Hovering just over the red playoff line, and separated from the other contending eastern conference teams by just a point or two, it looks like the Red Bulls have decided to drop interest in the CCL competition and focus solely on making the playoffs.  With a big, regular season match against league power houses Seattle Sounders coming up this weekend, New York will be resting most of their starters tonight and fielding a team comprised almost entirely out of reserve players.

Here's what we don't know:

  • What's the line up going to look like and do they have a chance?
There are so many questions that can be asked about tonight's possible lineup that it's almost not worth speculating about.  Does Richard Eckersley get another shot at right back?  Does he get a shot at left back?   Does Kosuke Kimura still exist or has he been sucked into some kind of alternate reality in which he's free to live a happier, more productive life?   Who's going to show up at centerback?  Armando and Ibrahim Sekagya?  Matt Miazga and Damien Perrinelle?   And how about the midfield?  Is Marius Obekop even on this team any more?   Oh hey, what about playing Saer Sene on the wing, or even at forward...and when is he going to learn to dribble without staring at his shoes?   Regardless of who starts or who comes off the bench, one thing remains clear.  The New York Red Bulls are going to look like a very different team tonight.   They could surprise a lot of people or they could fall flat on their faces and crash out of the tournament.   Either way, the only certainty in tonight's match is that we're all going to have a grand old time complaining about the quality of Fox Sports' coverage!