Montreal Impact head to Yankee Stadium, Saturday, hoping to erase the painful memory of last week’s harrowing experience in Kansas City.
New York City FC are one of those few clubs against whom the Impact has a better away record than at Stade Saputo, winning once in the Bronx, and drawing and losing twice each. The overall record against the Citizens doesn’t make great reading at 1-5-3.
Montreal will have Zakaria Diallo and Harry Novillo (and passport) back. Both are certain to start, Novillo in the Piatti role on the left, since the Argentine remains sidelined by the knee injury picked up in Orlando.
Since Piatti joined the club, Montreal has never won a road game where their #10 has been unavailable. Today will be their 20th attempt to overcome this dreadful statistic.
They must put Kansas City out of their heads and concentrate on the things they’ve done well in two previous road victories this season. There should a be gritty and determined response this afternoon. Pride took an immense beating last weekend and there are several players with points to prove once again.
“The first thing I want to see is intensity,” said Impact head coach, Remi Garde. “We’re all impatient to start forgetting last weekend’s nightmare. It’s the first ingredient, but others will be necessary as well. We need to be much smarter tactically than we were last game. We need to be stronger mentally because New York knows how to play the game well.”
The coach had been criticized in some quarters following the heavy defeat at Kansas City, for not changing things tactically in the game when things weren’t working well. Garde would defend himself with some justification, by pointing to a bench of replacements unlikely to provide the desired effect or improvement.
In NYCFC they possibly could not have picked a better opponent against which to begin a recovery. Under pressure, Dome Torrent’s New York Blues have not had the best of starts to the MLS season and have yet to win, although the heavy, Alejandro Pozuelo inspired reverse last weekend in Toronto is their only defeat.
Goals are proving elusive with only 4 in their 4 games to date. Alex Ring has top-scored with 50% of that tally.
Any club losing the services of a player like David Villa is bound to feel an effect, and evidence suggests this is part of NYCFC’s early season struggle. Today they will also miss play-maker Maxi Moralez, who misses his second successive game with a calf injury.
New striker Heber, is tipped to start a game for the first time in sky blue. It’s a chance for the Brazilian to prove he’s the man to provide presence up front after arriving from spells in Armenian and Croatian football, where he scored 25 times in 38 appearances for his last club, Rijeka.
Impact midfielder, Sam Piette has extra reason for making the afternoon a memorable one. He will be marking 50th Impact appearance in MLS, a run which includes starting every one of his team’s last 42 games (all competitions).
It’s an amazing run of consistency for the Bulldog, who’ll not care so much about recognizing the occasion on a personal level. He and his team-mates know that it’s much more important to perform this afternoon to in some part exorcise last week’s mauling in Missouri.
Projected Line-Ups -
NYCFC - Johnson - Tinnerholm, Chanot, Ibeagha, Sweat - Sands, Ring, Ofori - Castellanos, Heber, Mitrita
IMFC - Bush - Sagna, Cabrera, Diallo, Loviez - Piette, Azira, Taider, Novillo - Okwonkwo, Urruti
Referee: Ted Unkel
Asst Refs: Adam Wienckowski, Cory Richardson
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez