Columbus Crew vs. Montreal Impact | MLS Match Preview
COLUMBUS CREW vs MONTRÉAL IMPACT
COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio
Sept. 27, 2014 (WEEK 29, MLS Game #280)
7:30 p.m. ET (TWCS-OH; TVA)
An important game in the Eastern Conference playoff chase kicks off when the Columbus Crew meet the Montréal Impact on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew come into the match holding down fifth place and the final playoff position, two points ahead of Philadelphia Union, following their 1-0 win against the New England Revolution last weekend. The Impact have been eliminated from further playoff consideration, despite claiming a 2-0 win against the San Jose Earthquakes last week.
REFEREE: Sorin Stoica. AR1 (bench): George Gansner; AR2 (opposite): Jason White; 4th: Hilario Grajeda
MLS Career: 27 games; FC/gm: 28.4; Y/gm: 4.3; R: 13; pens: 16
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CLB: Bernardo Anor, Waylon Francis, Federico Higuain … MTL: Krzysztof Krol, Karl Ouimette
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Eric Gehrig … MTL: Hernan Bernardello, Matteo Ferrari, Andres Romero, Dilly Duka, Wandrille Lefevre
DISABLED LIST: CLB: Kingsley Baiden (season-ending injury)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Crew 5 wins, 12 goals … Impact 2 wins, 8 goals … Ties 1
AT COLUMBUS (4 meetings): Crew 4 wins, 8 goals … Impact 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 0
7/19: CLB 2, MTL 1 (Anor 56, 75 – Di Vaio 23)
8/30: MTL 2, CLB 0 (Piatti 40, 95+)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Ignacio Piatti scored twice to lead the Impact to a 2-0 win Aug. 30 at Stade Saputo. On July 19 at Crew Stadium, Bernardo Anor scored twice in the second half to haul the Crew back from a first-half deficit for a 2-1 victory.
- The Crew have won all four encounters lifetime in Columbus. The Crew won 2-1 last Sept. 14 at Stade Saputo, the only victory by the away team in eight meetings in the all-time series.
- Coaches record: Frank Klopas vs. CLB: P10 W7 L3 D0 … Gregg Berhalter vs. MTL: P2 W1 L1 D0
LAST MEETING (MLS)
- The Impact opened the scoring in the 40th minute. Felipe won the ball in midfield and released Ignacio Piatti down the right, sprinting toward goal. After juking past several Crew defenders, he placed his left-footed shot past goalkeeper Steve Clark inside the far post.
- The Impact and Piatti had their second in second-half stoppage time. Montreal threw numbers forward on the counter, and Piatti blasted a shot into the back of the net after Marco Di Vaio saw his attempt tackled away in the Crew box.
- MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Evan Bush - Hassoun Camara, Wandrille Lefevre, Matteo Ferrari, Krzysztof Krol - Patrice Bernier (Calum Mallace 80), Felipe Martins - Andres Romero (Eric Miller 88), Dilly Duka (Maxim Tissot 63), Ignacio Piatti - Marco Di Vaio.
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Steve Clark - Eric Gehrig (Hector Jimenez 59), Michael Parkhurst, Tyson Wahl, Waylon Francis - Ethan Finlay, Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp, Justin Meram (Ben Speas 76) - Federico Higuain - Adam Bedell (Aaron Schoenfeld 67).
The Columbus Crew stretched their undefeated streak to three games, gaining a 1-0 win against the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, with 40 points from 29 matches.
- The game's lone goal came three minutes after the second half restart. A New England foul gave Columbus a free kick from just outside the top of the box, and Federico Higuain stepped up with his usual dead ball confidence, swinging a powerful, curling effort into the top corner that left New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth no chance.
- The Crew had a glorious chance to put the game on ice in the 84th minute when Revolution defender A.J. Soares committed a late tackle that took out the legs of Justin Meram, and referee Ted Unkel ruled a penalty kick. But Higuain scuffed his effort from the spot and left Shuttleworth with an easy save.
- Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter made no changes to the team that came back for a 2-2 draw with the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Steve Clark - Eric Gehrig (Chad Barson 77), Michael Parkhurst, Tyson Wahl, Waylon Francis - Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp - Ethan Finlay, Federico Higuain (Bernardo Anor 86), Justin Meram - Aaron Schoenfeld (Jairo Arrieta 89).
- The Crew extended their overall undefeated streak to three games, and have lost just once in their last six matches.
- “Everything feels different,” midfielder Tony Tchani said. “If things are going to happen at this moment, it's good because we're pushing for the playoffs. Before this game, we had to do everything we could do. It's playing for everything from now on.”
- Added midfielder Wil Trapp: “It's huge. As we look at other results – you don't want to do that too much – we gained some ground, and that's huge in this point of the season.”
- The Crew also won for a fourth consecutive match at Crew Stadium. It’s their longest home winning run since 2012; the club record is nine wins in a row at home, set over the end of the 1996 season and beginning of 1997.
- “One to nothing is always a tough lead to hold. It was a matter of defending against a couple set pieces that we gave up, it was a matter of dealing with them throwing numbers forward and keeping the ball. I think two of those three things we did really well and I think we could have kept the ball a bit better but it’s tough,” said Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter. “When the defensive pressure steps up and they become desperate to get something out of the match it is difficult and that’s why we keep working every day and keep training to be able to handle the ball under pressure like that.”
- Federico Higuaín scored his second goal directly from a free kick this season. Higuaín now has 10 goals this season; he has converted four penalty kicks in that total. Higuaín also scored two goals directly from free kicks during the 2012 campaign, his first in MLS.
- “The movement, opening them up, creating chances and I think it’s difficult for the other team to make chances when they don’t have the ball or they have the ball in their half, it becomes hard,” Berhalter said. “I think we did a good job in the first half, after we scored they came out with everything they had and I think we could have been a little bit sharper on the counter attack but nonetheless we earned a penalty kick and an opportunity. So overall I’m proud of the group, it was a good performance.”
- The Crew also recorded their third clean sheet in the last five matches. It was the seventh shutout of the season for goalkeeper Steve Clark, tied for fourth-most in MLS; he has played every minute in goal for the Crew this season.
- “I don’t think there are many goalies in this league who win points for their team like he does,” Berhalter said.
The Montréal Impact extended their home undefeated streak to four games, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 on Saturday evening at Stade Saputo. The Impact are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 24 points from 29 games.
- Both of the game's goals came in the final 10 minutes. The match-winner arrived in the 81st minute. San Jose ‘keeper Jon Busch dove to his left to tip a curling Marco Di Vaio effort wide, but Jack McInerney found the rebound, bundling the ball over the line from close range with his knee.
- Dilly Duka added the insurance goal in the 88th minute. Collecting a pass on the left side of the area, Duka twisted and turned to avoid his marker before curling a shot inside the far post.
- Impact head coach Frank Klopas made three changes to the team that fell 2-1 to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Heath Pearce, Felipe Martins and Ignacio Piatti came into the side, in place of Mamadou Danso, Anthony Jackson-Hamel and the suspended Krzysztof Krol.
- MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Troy Perkins - Eric Miller, Heath Pearce, Wandrille Lefevre, Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare - Felipe Martins, Calum Mallace - Andres Romero (Issey Nakajima-Farran 69), Ignacio Piatti (Marco Di Vaio 57), Dilly Duka - Jack McInerney (Gorka Larrea 90).
- The Impact put an end to their three-game winless run, but still became the first team to officially be eliminated from playoff contention this year.
- “Guys are still fighting for jobs,” striker Jack McInerney said. “And we can still play spoilers, even if San Jose isn’t really there either. We still want to put good performances in for the fans and ourselves, going forward into next season. It’s important to end on a good note.”
- McInerney scored his first goal since June 29, netting his eighth goal this season (his seventh for the Impact since coming from Philadelphia Union in a trade).
- “It’s definitely been a while since I scored,” McInerney said. “As games go by and I don’t score, it’s frustrating, so it’s definitely a relief for myself and for the team, to play so well today.”
- Said Marco Di Vaio: “I’m happy for him. I know how it is, as a striker. Not scoring for a while isn’t easy. I’m happy for him, for the future, for the Champions League game. It’ll give him much confidence.”
- After making his first MLS start the week before in the midfield, Homegrown Player Jeremy Gagnon-Laparé was moved to left back for the San Jose match and played the full 90 minutes.
- “I’ve played [midfield] almost all my young career, since I was 12, 13 years old,” Gagnon-Laparé said. “It’s a more natural position for me. As it happens sometimes, you need to adjust quickly and that’s what happened tonight.”
- Said Impact head coach Frank Klopas: “For a player his age to show so much composure, maturity and confidence, it was great to see. The games that he’s played, he’s been fantastic.”
- Ignacio Piatti returned to the lineup after a one-match absence in MLS play, but saw his three-game goalscoring streak in league games come to an end. Piatti then came off before the hour mark.
- “I just think we have to be careful,” Klopas said. “It’s nothing serious, but more than anything, it’s something that he needs to rest, with the amount of games that he’s played. ... He played, but toward the end, it started acting up again, so it’s one of those things where, for me, we have to assess with the medical staff inside, and then maybe it’s a situation where he just needs to be off his feet for a week or 10 days to be completely healed.”
- Dilly Duka netted his third goal of the season, all having come in the last six matches following his trade from the Chicago Fire.
- The trip to Columbus is the first of back-to-back away games for the Impact in league play, with a trip to Chicago to follow. The Impact have three road games remaining in MLS; they remain winless away from Stade Saputo this season, now 0-11-3 on their travels. With a 17-game road winless streak in league play, they are trying to avoid becoming the sixth team to finish a season without a road win.