On April 9th, less than a month ago, the Impact found themselves in a very different place than they currently do. On that day, the Crew travelled to Montreal in a rematch of the Eastern conference semi-final from last year's MLS Cup Playoffs. Montreal was dominant on the day, with Columbus defender Gaston Sauro leaving the game in the first half with an injury. The Impact took advantage of this misfortune for the Crew, scoring two headed goals, one by Hassoun Camara, and the other by Kyle Bekker at the end of the game to seal the victory, as the Impact won 2-0 on home turf.
The Impact, now, are dealing with injuries of their own. With both Camara, as well as Donny Toia out with injuries, Biello has been forced to rotate members of his squad. Montreal, while still atop the Eastern Conference, have seen a substantial drop in form since the start of the season. While they appeared to look stronger recently against Columbus, the quality of play has not remained consistent since the start of the season.
Columbus, on the other hand, have been improving since their lackluster start to the season. After having to wait until their fifth game of the season before getting their first win, the Crew won twice in a row, until most recently falling to the Sounders in Seattle.
In order for the Impact to beat Columbus for the second time this season, the strategies will remain the same as they were in the first game, though they may be more difficult to execute. With Camara in the starting lineup in April's matchup, the Impact lined up favourably against the Crew, who have a strong aerial attack, notably Kei Kamara. Wandrille Lefevre has seen some time at center back in place of Victor Cabrera, so it will be up to him as well as Laurent Ciman to track Kamara's movement, in order to solidify the defense, which leaked two weak goals against Colorado on Saturday, including one off a set piece.
Will we see more squad rotation from Biello on Saturday?
What do you think the result will be?