Competition: Major League Soccer – Montreal Impact vs. Real Salt Lake
Venue: Stade Saputo – Saturday, May 16th – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports)
Match Odds: Montreal 11/8 – Draw 11/5 – Real Salt Lake 2/1
Montreal Impact host Real Salt Lake in the first of Saturday’s fixtures live on Sky Sports in what is a big game for both clubs.
The Impact have only played five games so far this season as their incredible CONCACAF Champions League adventure saw them sit out of domestic action through some of the opening weekends, but they are now fully focused on MLS, and need to start picking up points.
Montreal have not won a game yet this season, and their winless streak in MLS is now at ten, stretching back to last season too. Frank Klopas needs to rally his side to try and reproduce the performances they showed in the Champions League if they are to start climbing the Eastern Conference.
They come into the game off the back of Wednesday night’s Canadian Championship game against Toronto FC, in which they lost 3-2 on the night but advanced to the final 3-3 on aggregate, thanks to the away goals rule.
And away goals are what they will be hoping to prevent when RSL arrive at Stade Saputo on Saturday. The Western Conference outfit currently sit 7th and need to start climbing the table if they are to make the playoffs.
Real Salt Lake had gone on a run of five games without a win but ended that with victory in Chicago last week, as Jeff Cassar’s return to a 4-4-2 system seems to have paid off.
RSL have only scored three times in their five away games this season but have picked up more points on their travels and will hope to win back-to-back games for the second time this season.
These two have only met three times previously, with the home side victorious in each of those. Real Salt Lake won last year’s clash 3-1 but the Impact won the only meeting in Montreal 3-2 in 2013.
Montreal have seven injury concerns at this early stage of the season – more than any other side, as Adrian Lopez, Justin Mapp, Maxime Crepeau and Cameron Porter are all definitely out. While Donny Toia, Hassoun Camara, Victor Cabrera all remain doubtful. Kenny Cooper picked up a knock on Wednesday night and is also unlikely to play. Frank Klopas will hope fatigue doesn’t affect his players and could give Dominic Oduro a start after he scored in their last two games.
Real Salt Lake boss Jeff Cassar still can’t call on Joao Plata or Chris Schuler as they both remain sidelined, while concerns hang over key man Javier Morales and Sebastian Jaime. Morales has not been in training at times this week and could miss out with concussion. Midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Luke Mulholland are one booking away from suspension and need to remain disciplined. Jordan Allen will not be available as he has travelled with the US U20 squad for the upcoming World Cup.
Montreal Impact’s last five: L/D/D/L/L
Real Salt Lake’s last five: L/L/D/D/W
Key Stat: Montreal Impact have not won in their last ten MLS games and need to end that run quickly.
Key Player: Alvaro Saborio – The Costa Rican striker ended a 509-minute wait for a RSL player to find the net last weekend with his second of the season. Expect him to be a real threat to the Impact defence.
Montreal Impact 0-2 Real Salt Lake – Expecting Nick Rimando to keep his fifth clean sheet of the year in this one as the Impact may struggle after Wednesday night’s trip to Toronto. Injuries have weakened the Canadian side and RSL will look to capitalise as they look to extend their unbeaten run to four.