Competition: MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinal (Second-Leg) – New York Red Bulls vs Montreal Impact
Venue: Red Bull Arena – Sunday, November 5 – 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT)
Match Odds: NY Red Bulls 8/15 – Draw 3/1 – Montreal 9/2
New York Red Bulls welcome the Montreal Impact to Red Bull Arena for the second leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal showdown on Sunday evening. The Impact lead 1-0 from last Sunday’s first leg but know they have a lot to do if they are to advance to the Conference Finals.
The pressure is on the Red Bulls here. They failed to score in an MLS game for the first time since July in last weekend’s defeat but know they have more than enough quality to win this game.
Jesse Marsch guided his side to the top of the Eastern Conference over the course of the regular season and they will expect to live up to their billing as top seed in the East with a victory here.
They have an incredibly strong home record but need to make sure they don’t chase the result too quickly here, as the Impact will set up to hit them on the counter in the hope of scoring some valuable away goals.
Montreal enter the game knowing they need to avoid defeat by more than one goal to stand a strong chance of advancing on Sunday night. A draw would be enough to see them through and so they may set up to defend deep and try and frustrate the Red Bulls here.
They played well last Sunday and if they can repeat that performance here, they will have a Conference Final to prepare for.
The Red Bulls beat Montreal in both of their regular season clashes at Red Bull Arena this season and remarkably have still have never lost at home to the Impact in any competition (W7 D1).
The Red Bulls remain without Gideon Baah and Connor Lade for Sunday’s game but Jesse Marsch isn’t expected to make too many changes, if any, from last week’s first-leg loss. Gonzalo Veron is pushing for a start after coming off the bench last Sunday.
Montreal have two injuries of their own, with Andres Romero and Didier Drogba both sidelined. Drogba hasn’t played for a month but Matteo Mancosu has been deputising well, scoring the only goal last weekend following a brace against DC on the final day of the regular season. Mauro Biello isn’t expected to make any changes for the second leg.
New York Red Bulls’ last five: W/W/W/W/L
Montreal Impact’s last five: W/D/L/W/W
Key Stat: New York Red Bulls have not lost a home game in seven months. They are currently unbeaten in 17 home games in all competitions, and enter Sunday’s game off the back of four-straight victories at Red Bull Arena.
Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – The 2016 Golden Boot winner had scored in three consecutive games before last week’s 1-0 loss in the first leg. But he always tends to play better at home and has scored three in his last two at Red Bull Arena. The home side will look to BWP for inspiration in such a crucial fixture.
New York Red Bulls 3-1 Montreal Impact – Goals are expected in Sunday’s second-leg clash, but the pressure is on the hosts to deliver as the top seed in the East. The Red Bulls are a real force at home and should be able to win this match. The issue will be whether or not they can keep a clean-sheet, as any away goals scored by Montreal could be the deciding factor here. Ultimately, we expect the Red Bulls to advance in what should be an excellent game.