It's game #3 for the Montreal Impact as they visit their Midwestern Eastern Conference rivals: The Columbus Crew.
After having its home opener at the Big-O (Olympic Stadium), the Montreal Impact will be the visiting team for another team's home opener. The Montreal Impact has already played 2 games in its expansion season with a loss (vs Vancouver) and a tie (vs Chicago).
On the other hand, The Columbus Crew is only playing it's second game after a bye week in Week 2 of MLS action. Coming off a 2-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids, the Columbus Crew will be looking to get the club back on the right track with some late additions to the team, including the signing of Montenegrin left back, Nemanja Vukovic. The left back position for The Crew has been left empty since the departure of Josh Gardner, who was lost to the Montreal Impact via the 2012 MLS Expansion Draft.
Both teams have not tasted victory yet and will want to take the 3 points to kickstart their respective seasons for the club and their fans
Columbus Crew 2012 record: 0-1-0 (W-L-T)
Montreal Impact 2012 record: 0-1-1 (W-L-T)
Where: Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
When: Saturday, March 24, 2012, 4pm (ET)
Columbus Crew: OUT: MF Dilly Duka (L hamstring strain); DF Rich Balchan (sports hernia rehab); FW Ben Speas (sports hernia rehab); DF Julius James (R shoulder surgery); DOUBTFUL: FW Tommy Heinemann (L knee internal injury)
Montreal Impact: - OUT: GK Evan Bush (L ankle sprain); DF Nelson Rivas (L hamstring strain); FW Eduardo Sebrango (L groin strain); DF Hassoun Camara (R quad strain); PROBABLE: DF Gienir Garcia (L ankle sprain)
Absence due to International duty: Montreal -- Zarek Valentin (USA U-23); Evan James, Carl Haworth (both Canada U-23)
Outside a last minute injury, Sanna Nyassi should be starting the game and it is expected that Jesse Marsch will play him as wide right midfielder , to continue using Davy Arnaud as the 2nd striker to give more options to the Montreal midfield. Justin Braun will be heading the attack and we will have a battle of giants between Justin Braun and Chad Marshall, respectively 6'3 and 6'4. I do expect Bernardo Corradi to come in the game sooner if Justin Braun does not have enough impact (no pun intended) on the game by the end of the 1st half.
The Columbus Crew is coming off 1 bye week while still playing a few friendlies vs College teams to prepare for their home opener. As per our SBNation sister blog , Massive Report, expect to see a two-forward attack with Emilio Renteria and Olman Vargas and a lot of work for Matteo Ferrari and Tyson Wahl. The fullbacks/outside backs, Josh Gardner and Jeb Brovsky, will be expected to tight defensively as per usual while still providing some offensive support.
This will be an interesting game for the Montreal Impact, a first game out of three consecutive road games that will challenge the team as a unit as Jesse Marsch wants his club to continue playing as a unit. Without that unity, the Montreal Impact will suffer a lot against more experienced MLS teams.