The Buzz: #MTLvNE

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

The New England Revolution will head north for the first time this season to square off against the Montreal Impact on Saturday at Stade Saputo.

Form:

Montreal has gotten off to a dismal start to the season. With a record of 1-6-4, the Impact is in last place in MLS, and has offered scant evidence that they’re going to turn it around. The team’s only win came against Philadelphia at home in April.

In the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship final against Toronto FC on Wednesday, Montreal showed some fight. A late away goal from Justin Mapp helped give the Impact an advantage for the return leg next week at home. With recent disappointments in league play, the momentum from positive results in the ACC could spark the Impact.

Offensively, the team has struggled to put the ball in the back of the net, with just one goal so far from last year’s leading scorer Marco Di Vaio. Recent acquisition Jack McInerney has scored two goals since joining Montreal, but has been lost at times in the current setup.

Last season, New England visited Stade Saputo late in October and came away with a critical 1-0 win.

 

Three Players to Watch:

Justin Mapp: The midfielder has really been a bright spot on an otherwise dismal team. This season, Mapp currently has four assists and has been promising in an outside role. Against New England, Mapp can channel play down the flanks for Montreal. The Revolution must not give the midfielder too much time on the ball.

Felipe Martins: The Brazilian has been another midfielder who has made a difference. With two goals and two assists, Martins has featured significantly for the Impact. His consistent presence for Montreal helps the midfield maintain composure.

Jack McInerney: It seems that the forward has taken well to his new spot with Montreal. With two goals so far this season, McInerney is leading the Impact in scoring. His ability to finish out plays solidifies his role as a target striker. Against New England, the forward has scored goals in bunches. The former Philadelphia Union star has four goals against the Revolution in just nine career games.

 

Storylines:

When will the offense come for Montreal?

In 11 games played this season, the Impact has just nine goals. Yes, that’s less than a goal per game. That figure is astounding when you factor in the output of Marco Di Vaio last season.

It seems as if things just aren’t clicking for Frank Klopas in Montreal. The inability to score can come in waves. If the team has any hope of salvaging the season, Di Vaio will need to find his form again.

Scoring against the New England defense will prove tough. The Impact may concede much of the possession in order to find a counter-attacking goal, however, its own defense may struggle with the Revolution for a full 90 minutes.

Does New England Remain Undefeated into the Break?

It seems as if the early schedule really prefers the Revolution. With games against Montreal and New York, New England could very well dominate in both. This is important in a league where gaining momentum truly means everything.

The key factor will be how the New England offense plays on the road. Two weeks ago in Philadelphia this seemed to be no problem. However, having a solid offensive output in Montreal may cast away any lingering  doubts.

With New York awaiting the team on it’s return home next weekend, the Revolution finds itself with a strong possibility to win out its remaining games before the World Cup break – an accomplishment that shouldn’t be overlooked after they started the season 1-3-1.

Will Montreal Rest Players?

Silverware is important for any team. Don’t be surprised if Klopas rests some key players on Saturday with Montreal playing a strong Toronto team next Wednesday at home. Four games in 12 days can be very difficult for any team, and there may be more emphasis on the Canadian Cup.

It is still early in the season and a point against the hottest team in the league would not be a bad result for the Impact.

Prediction:

New England should keep their good form, but may only score one goal. With a strong defense, they should win 1-0 over Montreal.

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About Justin Churchill