Montreal Impact vs. FC Dallas | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Montreal Impact vs. FC Dallas
2017 MLS Regular Season
Stade Saputo – Montreal, Quebec
Saturday, July 22 – 7:30 pm ET
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A pair of sides with playoff aspirations will renew their yearly vows in this one. The hosts, Montreal Impact, are aiming to try to reel in the playoff pack in the Eastern Conference, which is still manageable thanks to their games in hand. Montreal are on 24 points, five behind the sixth-place Orlando City, but the Impact have also played two fewer games than the Purple Lions.
The goal, as always, is to make the home games count. Montreal already did that once this week with a big, 2-1 win over Philly on Wednesday, and now they'll want the same against last year's Supporters' Shield champions.
FC Dallas haven't quite lived up to that lofty billing thus far in 2017, but have started to pick up steam recently. They're unbeaten in four and have won two straight, and sit top of the Western Conference on points per game. Like the Impact, their goal is to make use of the games they have in hand.
It's been a stop-start season for the Impact, who've managed to string together back-to-back wins just once and are 6-6-6 after 18 games. They've done it while integrating some new faces – none bigger than midfield playmaker Blerim Dzemaili (pictured above), who has four goals and four assists in his eight MLS games thus far.
Dzemaili's presence has slightly papered over the absence of star winger Ignacio Piatti, but nothing has really been able to help the error-prone defense. Montreal have conceded 30 times in their 18 games, which is second-worst in the conference on a per-90 basis.
It is not clear if new signing Deian Boldor, a center back on loan from Bologna who will be counted on to provide a bit of size and steel in the backline, will be eligible to play in this one. If his paperwork comes through, Montreal could very well have an answer where they desperately need one.
- Suspended: none
- International duty: MF Patrice Bernier (Canada), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Canada), Maxime Crepeau (Canada)
- Injury Report: OUT: D Ambroise Oyongo (right knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: Ignacio Piatti (groin injury); D Victor Cabrera (undisclosed injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, left to right): Evan Bush – Chris Duvall, Laurent Ciman, Kyle Fisher, Daniel Lovitz – Hernan Bernardello, Marco Donadel – Dominic Oduro, Blerim Dzemaili, Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla – Matteo Mancosu
Opta Facts: Montreal have won six of their last 10 games at home (2L-2D), including their last four. The Impact have scored multiple goals in eight of those 10 games. … Montreal have conceded eight goals from outside the box this year, the most of any team in the league.
It hasn’t been a perfect season for FC Dallas, but Mauro Diaz is back and they're starting to cook. Diaz has been at the center of everything as the Dallas attack has exploded for seven goals in the last two games, both wins.
Even when the attack was slumbering, though, Los Toros Tejanos were still pretty darn good because of their defense. They've conceded just 18 goals this year, which is second-best in the league, and have proved to have more depth than initially expected. Between that and Walker Zimmerman's return to full health after missing June with an injury, it's hard to see Dallas as anything but legitimate contenders.
Of course, they're not complete just yet. As with the Impact they're missing players to the Gold Cup, including the 2016 MLS Defender of the Year Matt Hedges, who's long been the backline leader in Frisco.
- Suspended: None
- International duty: D Matt Hedges (USA), M Kellyn Acosta (USA), GK Jesse Gonzalez (USA), D Maynor Figueroa (Honduras)
- Injury Report: none
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, left to right): Chris Seitz – Ryan Hollingshead, Atiba Harris, Walker Zimmerman, Hernan Grana – Carlos Gruezo, Victor Ulloa – Roland Lamah, Mauro Diaz, Michael Barrios – Maxi Urruti
Opta Facts: FC Dallas has conceded six goals in their last four away games (2L-2D). They started the year by conceding just two goals in their first four road contests (2W-2D). … Dallas’ 4-2 win over D.C. United on July 4th was their fourth time scoring four or more goals in a league game since the start of the 2016 regular season. They have done so twice this season.
- Overall: Montreal 1 win (5 goals) … Dallas 3 wins (8 goals) … Ties 2
- At Montreal: Montreal 1 win (2 goals) … Dallas 0 wins (1 goal) … Ties 1
- Referee: Robert Sibiga
- Assistant Referees: Jeff Muschik, Kevin Klinger
- Fourth Official: Rubiel Vazquez