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Impact vs Columbus Crew: Q & A with Massive Report

The Montreal Impact will take on the Columbus Crew for the third time this season. Montreal will be looking to rebound from their defeat against Toronto FC in the Amway Canadian Championship.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Impact will take on the Columbus Crew for the third time this season, on Saturday evening, and looking to rebound from being knocked out of the Amway Canadian Championship. The last meeting between the two teams came in early May, a wild match that ended up finishing 4-4. The lineups on Saturday night will look very different with both teams suffering a number of injuries. The Crew no longer have Impact killer Kei Kamara after he was traded to the New England Revolution.

As announced by the Columbus Crew earlier this afternoon Frederico Higuain will be out 6-8 weeks with a sports hernia. It is also anticipated that the Crew will also be without Mohammed Saeid, Ola Kamara, and Conor Casey. The Impact will also be without a slew of players including: Donny Toia, Calum Mallace, and Ignacio Piatti. Laurent Ciman is still with team Belgium in France at Euro 2016. The good news for the Impact is that the majority of these players should all be ready to play in the game on June 25th against Sporting KC.

Mount Royal Soccer has once again turned towards our friends at Massive Report to get some perspective on the upcoming matchup.

1. Will the recent break in MLS help or hinder the Columbus Crew going into the game Saturday night against the Impact?
That's a rather interesting question. The hope was the team, which didn't have a full 18-man gameday roster in its last match against the Philadelphia Union, would get some players back to full health. Instead, more guys have been added to the injury report in Federico Higuain, Mohammed Saeid, Ola Kamara, and Conor Casey. What this means is any attack down the center of the pitch is going to look very different than expected a couple of weeks back.

In terms of the break, I don't think it will have any impact on the healthy players. It's not like Crew SC were particularly hot before the break, so some time away might be what they need to begin to turn things around.

After a 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night, I would say the Black & Gold are good to go for Saturday, well at least the players that can be.

2. The last time these two teams met the game ended in a crazy 4-4 draw. It also featured the the on-field dispute between Kamara and Higuain. Was Kamara leaving Columbus inevitable after that incident?

The players and staff say the move wasn't made just due to the incident. Evidently there had been tension between the two for a while, it just hadn't spilled over like it did in that match. What head coach Gregg Berhalter didn't like about Kei's actions was speaking out to the media. I believe if he hadn't done that (or simply apologized a few days later instead of defending himself), he may still be in Columbus.

It became clear pretty quick after Kamara's comments that one of the two was not long for the Crew SC world. Kamara was not only the one who spoke out, but was likely also the player that could receive the most in return.

3. Kamara has terrorized the Impact over the last season. Now that he has left, who do the Impact need to watch out for?
If you would have asked me before the injury news I would have said Crew SC's other Kamara, Ola. The forward had four goals in his last two matches, but it appears he will not feature in this contest.

In the midweek Open Cup match, Justin Meram started up top and did well controlling the ball and creating for himself at times. That was obviously against lesser opposition so we'll see how he does against Montreal if deployed in that role. Another player is Ethan Finlay, who played much of the second half at forward. He's done well against the Impact before, but could be in a new spot come Saturday.

I would also watch out for Cedrick Mabwati if he's available. The winger provides direct speed down the sideline that Columbus doesn't always have and is willing to take defenders on one v. one. Emil Larsen will likely get the start for Higuain and he's desperate to prove what he can do for Crew SC. He recently scored a hat trick on the international level, so maybe the goal will start coming for the midfielder.

*A big thanks (again) to Patrick Murphy at Massive Report for taking the time to contribute to this article.