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Three (more) things the Impact can defeat the Red Bulls

One down ... a few more to go ... the IMFC have had a great start to this year's playoffs ... but the hard part is still to come.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Execution ... execution ... execution ... at the top level of the game, that's what matches hinge upon. Which team will best translate the manager's plan on the field and get the results they want. After a pretty solid outing and near pitch-perfect execution in Washington, the Impact is back at work against a more powerful foe. The Red Bulls are not to be taken lightly as all IMFC fans know.

#RBNY are on a tear ... undefeated in MLS since ... well ...seemingly forever. They can count on the most successful attacking duo in the league in Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sasha Kljestan. So how can the Impact prevail? Here are three key goals they must strive for:

  1. Stop Sasha ...stop BWP (maybe) ... the Red Bulls' playmaker cannot be given space in the attacking third. It will be up to Patrice Bernier, Hernan Bernardello and Marco Donadel to repeat their fantastic performance of Thursday night.
  2. Counter Felipe's influence in midfield ... make him lose his cool ... he plays well when angry ... but can be pushed when he's too close to the edge ...Montreal could finish a man up on the Red Bulls. Keep a sharp eye on Dax McCarthy as well.
  3. The defensive corps need to be immense again to deny BWP any space in the 6-yard box ... he's just lethal from there. It's up to Laurent Ciman again to marshal that defense.
The Red Bulls will prevail in Montreal if they can do their own three things:
  1. Shut down Ignacio Piatti ... foul him early and often ... deny him space and time on the ball and his ability to connect with Matteo Mancosu and Dominic Oduro.
  2. Be ready to neutralize Didier Drogba when he comes off the bench ... I have a feeling the big man will be especially motivated and we could see a reminder of the kind of play that made him a darling of the entire MLS world at the end of last season.
  3. Capitalize on set pieces ... the obvious Achilles heel of the Impact ... crowd the box ... use space and movement to make end runs ... catch defenders in a moment of inattention.
It promises to be a real good match.