The New York Red Bulls head to Canada on Wednesday night to take on the Montreal Impact. With newly signed Shaun Wright-Phillips on the roster for RBNY, and names such as Didier Drogba and Johan Venegas now in the mix for MTL, what can we expect from these two come 8:00 PM EST?
First things first: not Drogba. According to Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette,
"He is slated to train Wednesday in Montreal, but won’t be in the lineup against the Red Bulls. However, Drogba will be at Saputo Stadium Wednesday night and will be introduced to Impact fans at halftime."
Don't be too disappointed RBNY fans, because the Impact will be at Red Bull Arena on October 7th. Drogba should be a solid starter by the time that rolls around.
Both teams should be confident. The Red Bulls are now on a three game winning streak in MLS, after taking down New England, Orlando, and most recently Philadelphia. Montreal has won two in a row - defeating the Seattle Sounders and New York City FC. Montreal has had some trouble in the recent past, finishing last year's season in last place overall. Currently, the Impact is in 6th in the Eastern Conference, but it has only played 19 games. RBNY (20 Games Played) is second in the East, behind D.C. United (24 GP).
Montreal had an eventful transfer window, bolstering their attack with the names mentioned above as well as trading Jack McInerney to the Crew. The Red Bulls have been active too, adding SWP, and expected to sign San Lorenzo's Gonzalo Veron...soon. Both teams clearly seek a boost for the regular season run-in and, hopefully, the playoffs.
The last time these two teams faced each other, August 23rd of last year, RBNY walked away with three points after winning 4-2 in Red Bull Arena. The last time Montreal beat New York was actually March 23, 2013. Since then, the teams have faced off four times, with RBNY winning three, and the two drawing once.
Likely Lineup Changes:
Expect a few changes from RBNY tonight. Damien Perrinelle is out due to yellow card accumulation. Good news for Montreal fans: not only because their team will face a defense missing the two-time MLS French-speaking player of the month, but also because Karl Ouimette may be starting. The Montreal homegrown player joins Jesse Marsch and Felipe Martins in a return to their old stomping ground.
Of course, Roy Miller may replace Perrinelle instead, but Ouimette should at least be in the 18.
Another change: Kemar Lawrence will be back in the starting lineup, as he returns from International duty with Jamaica.
Players to watch:
As said above, Shaun Wright-Phillips is now a name to boast for the Bulls, after putting on quite a show in his MLS debut against Philly. I expect to see him in the Starting XI tonight, though Marsch could reasonably choose to stick with the starters that got RBNY this far into the season. The match is too soon for Gonzalo Veron to feature, but expect to see a lot of another former San Lorenzo players: Ignacio Piatti. He has been deadly for the Impact, scoring in exactly half of his MLS appearances for the club.
I am predicting the same scoreline between these two as seen on May 8th, 2013, a 2-1 final score with New York leaving Canada with 3 points.