Coming off a harsh 5-2 loss to the New York Red Bulls, the Montreal Impact travel across the USA to land in Salt Lake City to play MLS royalty, Real Salt Lake. As the team builds its confidence and its way of playing soccer, facing the team ranked 1st in the difficult Western conference is not what the doctor recommends to finish off a win-less, pointless road trip.
As much as the Montreal Impact has been able to score 2 goals versus the New York Red Bulls, a strong focus will most probably be on a sound defense. As much as Real Salt Lake does not have in its ranks a Thierry Henry type of player, if you look down the squad, you will see a team that has been built around solidity, team work and excellent fitness. If you add to that the offensive potential of Real Salt Lake, the Montreal Impact cannot afford to give a lot of space to their opponents and will need to defend as a unit, at all times.
With a potential turnaround by Real Salt Lake, we might not see all of the plethora of strong MLS players but this only means that Real Salt Lake has a deep squad and rotation is key towards MLS success. Another factor that needs to be taken into account: elevation. Rio Tinto stadium stands 1356m above sea level and this will be a factor in the game. Both teams have had a similar schedule, playing last Saturday and in the next one, squad rotation is important and managing the squad, effort and fitness will be important.
Real Salt Lake 2012 record: 3-1-0 (W-L-T) vs Montreal Impact 2012 record: 0-3-1 (W-L-T)
Where: Rio Tinto Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah
When: Wednesday April 4th 2012, 7pm (MT) , 9pm (EST)
Where to watch: TVA Sports ; Montreal Impact Pub Partners
Real Salt Lake - OUT: FW Cody Arnoux (R adductor strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Will Johnson (R adductor strain); PROBABLE: DF Nat Borchers (L quadriceps strain) ...
Montreal Impact - OUT: DF Nelson Rivas (L hamstring strain); FW Eduardo Sebrango (L groin strain); DF Hassoun Camara (R quad strain); PROBABLE: FW Justin Braun (L groin strain)
Absence due to International duty: None
Suspensions: Montreal: None
Real Salt Lake (via RSL Soap Box ) : Nick Rimando, Terakazu Tanaka, Nat Borchers, Chris Schuler, Tony Beltran, Ned Grabavoy, Yordany Alavrez, Sebastian Velasquez, Javier Morales, Fabian Espindola and Paulo Jr.
Montreal Impact : Donovan Ricketts , Jeb Brovsky , Shavar Thomas, Matteo Ferrari, Josh Gardner, Justin Mapp , Davy Arnaud, Felipe Martins , Collen Warner, Sanna Nyassi, Bernardo Corradi
Donovan Ricketts vs Nick Rimando: Two elite goalkeepers face each other. Ricketts coming off an awful game vs the New York Red Bulls will look to redeem himself and pay back Jesse Marsch for the confidence he showed by starting him tonight.
Justin Mapp: His experience and skills will be important for the left-footed magician. If facing a less-experienced right back, he might make some noise and be dangerous. Not sure, if Josh Gardner will join the attack as he likes to but Justin Mapp will need to combine with his quick teammates to create gaps.
Davy Arnaud: We all hope that the captain will play his offensive midfielder role for a full game (since the 1st game of the season) and that he brings what he can as an offensive player whether he plays on the right side or when joining the attack as a target in Real Salt Lake`s box.
Defensive solidity of the team: Defensive solidity goes beyond the back four of a team. All 11 players , as a unit, will need to recover the ball, play smart pressure, combine zone/man-to-man defense and more. The Montreal Impact enjoy having control the ball and will need to have smart possession on both sides of the pitch.