New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal Impact | 2016 East Semifinal Match Preview
NEW YORK RED BULLS vs. MONTREAL IMPACT
2016 Eastern Conference Semifinal – Leg 2
Red Bull Arena | Harrison, NJ
Sunday, Nov. 6
4 pm ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN in the US | RDS, TSN5 in Canada)
See if you've heard this one before: The New York Red Bulls have a great regular season. They cruise into the postseason, then flame out even before reaching the MLS Cup Final. Then they start up again next year with the space above their crest still starless. That's the danger New York are in right now, trailing Montreal 1-0 on aggregate going into Sunday's second leg at Red Bull Arena.
The Impact, meanwhile, are trying to make some history of their own. They can't reach next year's CONCACAF Champions League by winning MLS Cup, because of the way the slots are allocated, but a victory or a draw on Sunday gets them one step closer to becoming the first Canadian side to hoist the league's postseason title trophy -- even without mercurial striker Didier Drogba, who has been battling a back injury and hasn't played since refusing a spot in the 18 on Oct. 16.
- Mancosu Legend? Impact forward is making it happen
- Impact's first-leg plan comes off without a hitch
- RBNY 'confident' about second leg at home
- Analyst: A tale of two forwards for Impact & RBNY
- Red Bulls expect more of the same from counterattacking Impact in Leg 2
- Montreal's Mancosu, New York's Lawrence miss training on Wednesday
- Red Bulls aim to show growth in overcoming playoff deficit
- Drogba returns to training, says he'll come off bench vs. Red Bulls
- MLS NOW: RBNY confident they'll earn Leg 2 result vs. Impact
- Wiebe: Stars much sign for higher seeds to advance from conf. semifinals
- Stars, supporting cast both must step up for Red Bulls to advance
- Strong playoff performances have Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush rising in status
- Couch: New York, New York! How to hit both Big Apple playoff games
- Analyst's Den: Veron could be the difference for the Red Bulls
- Red Bulls expect "chess match" vs. underdog Impact
- Tactical Look: How Kljestan can thrive in Leg 2
New York Red Bulls Snapshot:
- 2016 Regular Season Finish: East No. 1 seed (16-9-9 record, 57 points, 3-7-7 away record)
- Current Form: W-W-W-W-L
- Strengths: Golden Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips, assist crown winner Sacha Kljestan. If that doesn't add up to firepower in the attacking third, then nothing will.
- Weaknesses: The Red Bulls' play in the defensive third isn't always locked down. Against a team as good on the counter as the Impact, that could be a problem.
- Injuries/Suspensions: Omer Damari (first leg red card); Gideon Baah (left tibia) – out; Connor Lade (ACL) – out; Justin Bilyeu (head) – out
- Player to Watch: BWP. The Golden Boot winner didn't find the net in the first leg, and now his team are playing from behind. They need one from him on Sunday. A brace might get the job done outright.
- Probable Starting XI: Luis Robles; Kemar Lawrence, Damien Perinelle, Aurelien Collin, Chris Duvall; Dax McCarty, Felipe; Mike Grella, Sacha Kljestan, Alex Muyl; Bradley Wright-Phillips
Montreal Impact Snapshot:
- 2016 Regular Season Finish: East No. 5 seed (11-11-12 record, 45 points, 7-5-5 home record)
- Current Form: W-D-L-W-W
- Strengths: Sunday's second leg plays right into Montreal's strengths. With the 1-0 aggregate lead, they don't need a goal -- just to prevent one and maybe grab a second to ice the series. They can sit back, absorb pressure and then hit on the counter.
- Weaknesses: Montreal have never won in New York. Ever. Seven tries, zero victories. A draw at Red Bull Arena would do it, of course -- but they don't have any of those, either.
- Injuries/Suspensions: Andres Romero (ACL) – out; Didier Drogba (back) – unknown.
- Player to Watch: Dominic Oduro. If the Impact can get him sprung on the counter a couple of times on Sunday, Oduro's speed can wreck a defense on the flanks.
- Probable Starting XI: Evan Bush; Hassoun Camara, Laurent Ciman, Victor Cabrera, Ambroise Oyongo; Hernan Bernardello, Patrice Bernier, Marco Donadel; Dominic Oduro, Matteo Mancosu, Ignacio Piatti
New York vs. Montreal Head-to-Head
All-Time (14 meetings):
New York 8 wins, 27 goals • Montreal 4 wins, 19 goals • Ties 2
All-Time Playoff Meetings:
New York 0 wins, 0 goals • Montreal 1 win, 1 goal • Ties 0
All-Time in New York (7 meetings):
New York 7 wins, 20 goals • Montreal 0 wins, 7 goals • Ties 0
2016 Meetings (4 meetings):
MTL 3, NY 0 (Mar. 12); NY 3, MTL 1 (Aug 13); NY 1, MTL 0 (Sept. 24); MTL 1, NY 0 (Oct. 30)