The New York Red Bulls are back on the road for Week 14 of MLS 2017. The last time the team went to Montreal, it was the beginning of the end of its 2016 playoff campaign. But this is a new year and a new season, and both sides have retooled and tinkered in the off-season.
Once A Metro: How much did Montreal put into Voyageurs Cup this week, and will that effort affect the lineup against RBNY?
Peter Alper, Mount Royal Soccer: In the first leg against Vancouver last week, the Montreal Impact basically started the B team and didn't have some of the top guys like Piatti and Dzemaili fly to Vancouver - and still got an important away goal that made a difference in game two this week. For the second leg game, the Impact played the best possible team, which you may see this weekend versus the Red Bulls, and got four goals at home with a great performance from Piatti and Dzemaili.
Last weekend, Montreal didn't have an MLS league game so the starters had over a week of rest, so I don't think the Voyageurs Cup will have any effect on the team in the fatigue department, nor the starting lineup.
Once A Metro: How has Blerim Dzemaili been working out for the Impact?
MRS: So far Blerim Dzemaili has played three games for Montreal ( two in MLS, 1 Voyageurs Cup). In those three games, he's racked up thre assists and one goal. Dzemaili is a box-to-box midfielder and is very dynamic with the ball; he carries the ball through the middle of the park and creates deadly scoring chances with his beautifully timed passes.
Dzemaili and Piatti, for the little time they've played together so far this season, seem to be a deadly dynamic duo. They start one to two plays that cut through the defense of their opponents, which lead to high-quality scoring chances. This Saturday, the Red Bulls should watch out for these two. Since Dzemaili has arrived, the Impact has scored 10 goals in three games: it seems he's brought over what the teams needs as it sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Once A Metro: Montreal bounced RBNY out of the playoffs last year with a very well-executed tactical plan. Do you think we'll see the same approach for this match? Or is the team working on something new this year?
MRS: Last season, the Impact's well-executed tactical plan was to defend well and score on the counter-attack which was very effective last season, which could have been the reason they booted the Red Bulls out of the playoffs last season. This season they seem to be less of a counter-attacking team and more of a possession team with balls along the wing. Don't get me wrong, the Impact still uses the counter-attack strategy and is still effective with the likes of Ballou, Oduro, and Piatti on the ball.