Montreal Impact take on New England Revolution this evening (5pm) at Gillette Stadium, their first visit to the Foxboro venue in almost 18 months.
On that occasion, the Montrealers won 3-0, with all the goals coming after Shamit Shome’s only-ever goal for the club in the 79th minute. Anthony Jackson-Hamel weighed in with another two for a slightly flattering winning margin.
The Impact would take that tonight of course, although neither scorer looks set to start.
New England have been conservative this season when it comes to goalscoring, only 10 in 12 games, but they don’t concede many either, 11. Each game they’ve played bar one has resulted in a draw or a one goal margin. Only 6 goals have been scored in five MLS matches at Gillette Stadium this season, just two of those by the Revs. And they’ve yet to win at home!
But coach Bruce Arena isn’t overly concerned, suggest’s it’s only a matter of time...
“We’re going to score goals, it’s just a matter of time. But time is running out on us so certainly we got to get better.
“Defending principles are something you can coach and teach your team. The attacking part of the game is difficult. You need guys to make plays and we’ve had players in position to make plays. I think it’s just a matter of time before a couple of guys make the plays and when that happens I think we’re going to be winning games.”
The game is important in the race for one of the coveted top six play-off places. Montreal currently occupy that sixth spot, but the Revs are only a point behind. Several other clubs are also too close for comfort.
The sides met at the MLS-is-Back tournament in Orlando back in July, on that occasion Montreal enjoyed most possession, but the Revolution carried the threat and created better chances. Record signing Gustavo Bou’s goal was enough to win the game.
Bou will again pose most danger this evening and will be joined by the Pole Adam Buksa another marquee signing at $4.5m, and Cristian Penilla, a player who has caused problems for Montreal in the past.
The Impact will not lament the absence of injured Carles Gil, influential in that previous 0-1 defeat. The New England play-maker is out with an injured left achilles.
Montreal will be trying to finish their first game in the last four with 11 players on the field. The craziness that surrounded the recent expulsions of Emanuel Maciel, Rudy Camacho (now both available again for selection) and Romell Quioto (suspended) is understandably a source of frustration for Thierry Henry.
Whether the Frenchman brings back pantomime villain Camacho into his back four remains to be seen, but Maciel could return in midfield, releasing Bojan to play centrally up front in place of the suspened Quioto.
Trying to forecast the Impact line-up for this one is a guessing game made harder after yesterday’s issuance of the new schedule for the remainder of the season. With games coming thick and fast, inevitably squad rotation becomes a massive factor.
So we may see a few surprises in this evening’s starting line-up.
Projected Line-ups -
NERevs - Turner - Bye, Farrell, Kessler, Buttner - Polser, Rowe, Penilla - Bou, Buksa, Bunbury
IMFC - Diop - Brault-Guillard, Camacho, Binks, Raitala - Wanyama, Maciel - Piette, Taider, Okwonkwo - Bojan
Match Officials -
- Referee: Fotis Bazakos (IMFC record in games reffed by Mr Bazakos - 4-3-2)
- Assistant Referees: Ian McKay, Gjovalin Bori
- 4th Official: Ted Unkel
- VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.