MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs New York City FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – Montreal Impact vs. New York City FC

Stadium: Stade Saputo – Sunday, July 17 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal 11/10 – Draw 12/5 – NYCFC 12/5

Match Preview

Montreal Impact welcome the Eastern Conference leaders New York City FC to Stade Saputo on Sunday evening.

Montreal are fourth in the East. They trail NYCFC by six points ahead of this tie but they do have two games in hand on their opponents.

Mauro Biello’s side come into this one off the back of their 1-1 draw with Portland. They have become the draw specialists in recent weeks with eight of their last 11 games ending with a share of the points.

Impact are unbeaten in five but they have won just one of those ties. They have scored at least twice in 13 of their last 15 at home but have also conceded at last two in five of those last six games. If that is anything to go by we could be in for a high-scoring match here.

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New York City’s four-game winning run came to an end last time out as they lost 3-1 to SKC. A disappointing result for Patrick Vieira’s side but they are still the team to be feared in the East.

NYCFC have plenty of players in top form ahead of this tie, they will be looking for their key players to perform and ensure they bounce back straight away from their defeat.

While New York City fans have every right to brag about being top of the East there is plenty of work to do to ensure they make the playoffs for the first time in their history.

The earlier meeting in the season between these two ended in a 1-1 draw, with Montreal stealing a share of the points in dramatic fashion late on in the tie. Vieira will have his players all too aware of the threat Montreal pose and will not expect them to throw away three points if they get into a winning position again.

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Team News

Montreal could be without four players through injury as Andres Romero and Marco Donadel are expected to be out, while Didier Drogba and Laurent Ciman are both doubts.

New York City FC have just the two injury concerns as Connor Brandt and Steven Mendoza are out.

Key Points

Montreal Impact’s form: D/D/W/D/D

New York City FC’s form: W/W/W/W/L

Key Stat: Montreal are unbeaten in 14 of their last 15 home games in Major League Soccer.

Key Player: Frank Lampard – The midfield goal machine is finally living up to his reputation. The NYCFC man has netted four in his last five. He can be key to his side taking all three points in this tie.

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Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-2 New York City FC – If recent form and results are anything to go by we should be in for an action packed draw here. Both of these sides have been scoring freely and Montreal’s home form suggests it is going to be very difficult for New York City FC to take all three points.

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MLS Fantasy Focus: Make the most of the DGW ahead of Round 10

By Jamie Dawe and Sam Martin

The headlines from Round 9 have all been about Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain’s mid-game row. Their exchange of words over a penalty that would have secured Kamara his hat trick – but was eventually taken by Higuain – is a story that has travelled around the world. It marred an incredible eight-goal game, but in this week’s Fantasy Focus, we promise to focus on the football being played, not the spats off the ball!

Round 9 Review 

The Good:

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The MAPFRE Stadium, home to Columbus Crew, undoubtedly provided us with the game of the weekend, where an incredible eight goals were scored in the 4-4 draw between the Crew and Montreal Impact. It had been a disappointing start to the season for Columbus, but two goals from both Kei Kamara ($11.1) and Federico Higuaín ($10.5) put Columbus 4-1 up with just over 30 minutes to play. Remarkably, the Impact came back from the dead to salvage a point thanks to Ignacio Piatti ($10.6), Didier Drogba ($11.8) and a last minute goal from Dominic Oduro ($7.6). We have once again entered the familiar territory of Piatti gaining the most points of any player this week – with an astounding 18! While Montreal may top the Eastern Conference, Colorado Rapids are the shock leaders of the Supporters’ Shield standings, following a 1-0 home victory against an equally impressive Real Salt Lake. Jermaine Jones ($8.2) netted the goal that was the difference between the two sides to earn his side three crucial points and further cement his place as one of the league’s top players even after his unceremonious exit from New England. Robbie Keane ($11.7) may have been sidelined with injuries for most of this campaign, but the Irishman netted a brace in the Galaxy’s fifth win of the campaign, picking up 13 points in his 59 minutes on the field. Furthermore, it couldn’t possibly be a good weekend without Seattle’s Jordan Morris ($8.3) getting a mention. The forward has now scored in four straight matches as Seattle won their fourth-straight home game against San Jose on Saturday.

The Bad:

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The only red card of the weekend was collected by Orlando’s Cristian Higuita ($6.7), who was sent off late on in his side’s 1-1 draw with New York Red Bulls. OCSC are now on a run of five games without a win and with star turns Kaka ($10.8) and Cyle Larin ($9.2) in their side – it is fair to expect more from the men in purple. Meanwhile, Dallas failed to score and lost for the third consecutive outing. It has to be worrying the Texans with forward Maximiliano Urruti ($8.5) needing to regain the form that got him three goals in the opening four MLS games. Portland Timbers’ winless away run continued after defeat at Vancouver, while Sporting Kansas City also suffered a defeat away to Houston Dynamo. SKC are now winless in six after winning four of their opening five. Designated Players Benny Feilhaber ($10.9) and Graham Zusi ($10.1) will be expected to produce their finest form in the coming weeks, starting with this week’s DGW.

Round 10 Preview

Double Gameweek Must-Haves:

Jermaine Jones ($8.2):

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The Rapids are in tremendous form and it was sparked by Jermaine Jones’ entrance to the team. Fresh from his contract dispute with the Revs and his six-match ban for making repeated physical contact with referee Mark Geiger, the fire is very much within Jones’ play. Thrust into a more attacking role, he’s playing as well as he ever has – even at the age of 34.

Andrew Wenger ($7.2):

Houston have finally returned to some sort of form with a win over SKC and Wenger was instrumental in achieving the victory. Fixtures against San Jose and Real Salt Lake aren’t easy – but they’re certainly not the most difficult cards to be dealt at this point in the season. I would be shocked if Wenger didn’t pick up 10 points across the two games this week. If you don’t fancy Wenger, teammate Alex ($6.1) is bound to pick up a solid number of points at a cheap price.

Fanendo Adi ($10.3):

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The pinpoint in the Timbers’ MLS Cup winning attack, Adi is in fine form and with Diego Valeri ($10.5) pulling the strings behind him, he looks set to keep firing in goal after goal. He may be whisked away for international duty with Nigeria in Round 12, but he will be back in a flash – unlike other forward options like Giles Barnes ($8.5) and Chris Wondolowski ($10.7), who will exiting the league for the Copa America Centenario.

Maynor Figueroa ($6.7):

This is a risky one. Dallas may’ve lost three on the trot, but the former Wigan defender has performed solidly throughout and is still garnering plenty of bonus points. If Dallas were to keep a clean sheet in either of their two home games this week against the Sounders or the Timbers, it would be a shame to miss out on almost certain double figures. It’s also hard to ignore that Dallas are the only side to play both their games at home this week and Figueroa represents a solid pick.

Which players will you transfer in for Round 10’s DGW?

MLS Fantasy Focus: Time to sell the NYCFC defenders ahead of Week 3?

By Jamie Dawe & Sam Martin

The second week of the 2016 MLS season didn’t quite provide the insane quantity of goals, red cards and all round excitement as Week 1, but it was the first week that we could see which teams were settled – and which teams were far from decided on a strongest lineup. Highlights of the week included the 5-0 drubbing of FC Dallas by Houston Dynamo in the Texas Derby and the magic of Sebastian Giovinco once again saving Toronto FC in their 2-2 draw with New York City FC.

Week 2 Review:

The Good:

Ignacio Piatti ($10.4) was at it again this week with a goal and an assist in the Impact’s 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls. Throw in a shot bonus and some defending bonuses – as well as clean sheet points – and this left him with a grand total of 14 points for the week. However, unlike last week, two players managed to outscore Piatti in the shape of David Villa ($11.1) and Andrew Wenger ($7.3). Villa scored two early goals, including one from the penalty spot against Toronto FC before Sebastian Giovinco ($11.8) hauled Toronto back to a 2-2 draw. Wenger created two and finished one off himself to score a terrific 16 points in the Dynamo’s 5-0 win over Dallas, throwing down his credentials for the 2016 season in the process.

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The Bad:

Last season’s finalists FC Dallas had a nightmare start in their first away game, being battered 5-0 at Houston Dynamo. Matt Hedges ($8.9) didn’t look at all worthy of his high price tag, scoring an own goal and putting in an all-round poor performance as the 2015 Western Conference champions were humiliated by a side who hadn’t beaten Dallas in seven games before Sunday. Chicago Fire’s Michael Harrington ($5.2) picked up a red card during his side’s tough 1-1 draw at Orlando as both sides continued their winless starts to the season. The only other red card of the week was given to Vancouver Whitecaps’ Jordan Smith ($6.1). The defender was sent off in his side’s 2-1 defeat at Sporting Kansas City, meaning a score of -3 and of course the customary suspension will follow.

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Week 3 Preview:

Must Buy:

We start at the back. With Houston and LA Galaxy’s first choice ‘keepers both injured, the chance has arrived for backup ‘keepers Brian Rowe ($4.7) and Joe Willis ($4.6) to deliver. They are both cheap options who are now both in the top three point-scoring goalkeepers in MLS Fantasy. They are certainly both making a statement as to why they should hold on to their place in future weeks and deserve consideration. At the opposite end of the pitch, Dominic Oduro ($7.7) of Montreal Impact has made an impressive start to the season, netting two goals and an assist in his opening two games, showing that Montreal at not missing Drogba’s absence. Up next for Montreal is a clash against a leaky FC Dallas side, who conceded five goals at Houston Dynamo. Oduro will see this as an opportunity to continue his solid start, as will Montreal who will be looking to make it three wins from three. Drogba is in line to start but Oduro should continue to be a high point-scorer for the next three weeks. In the centre of the park, Philadelphia’s Chris Pontius ($7.1) is a cheap midfielder who has certainly been worth his value so far. Two goals at the weekend away to Columbus show he is capable of getting on the scoresheet and with the New England Revolution game fast approaching, Pontius may be one of the best bets in fantasy for a budget attacking midfield option.

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Must Sell:

With the first set of international fixtures coming in Week 4, it’s time to be preparing which international call-ups to maybe sell. One definite call-up is Fanendo Adi ($10.0), who is heading to Africa to represent Nigeria in African Nations Cup qualifying. However, a home game against Real Salt Lake may mean managers will want to hang on to him for just one more week. MLS may be incredibly unpredictable but we seem to know one thing for certain at this stage – the NYCFC defence is far from settled and is very leaky. Especially with Vieira deciding to line up with three at the back against Toronto. As a result, it’s difficult to predict any starters in the NYCFC defence or whether they will ever actually gain a clean sheet this season. So, if you’ve got Frederic Brilliant ($8.0) or Jason Hernandez ($6.4), I’d recommend selling sooner rather than later.

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Freddie Shires’ side Jozy and the Pussycats banked an incredible 102 points this week, shooting him up to second in the MLSGB Fantasy League leaderboard. This tally’s primary creators were double-digit scorers Sebastian Giovinco, David Villa and Ignacio Piatti. However, at the top of the leaderboard is still Mack’s team Mack Legend with a grand total of 182 points after two weekends.

Who will you be bringing in for Week 3 in MLS Fantasy Soccer?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs New York Red Bulls

Competition: Major League Soccer – Montreal Impact vs. New York Red Bulls

Venue: Montreal Olympic Stadium – Saturday, March 12 – 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Montreal Impact 7/5 – Draw 12/5 – New York Red Bulls 15/8

Match Preview

Montreal Impact host New York Red Bulls at the Olympic Stadium for the second game of the 2016 MLS season on Saturday afternoon in an all Eastern Conference clash.

The Impact enjoyed an excellent opening day 3-2 victory away at Canadian rivals Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend, thanks to two goals from Ignacio Piatti and a Dominic Oduro strike.

Mauro Biello will be delighted with the performance of his players, and that win will send out a signal to the rest of the league that Montreal mean business in 2016 and will be out to prove that last year’s surge to the playoffs was no fluke.

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That win at Vancouver also showed that the Impact are more than capable of coping without talisman Didier Drogba who undoubtedly transformed the team towards the end of 2015.

New York Red Bulls suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to Toronto in their first game and will be looking to bounce back immediately on Saturday.

Despite dominating the play with 63% possession and making 220 more passes than their opponents, the Red Bulls only managed one shot-on-target, with ten off target, which will be a major concern for Jesse Marsch.

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The 2015 Supporters’ Shield winners were the highest goalscorers in MLS last year and will be hoping that their opening day blues were just a case of rustiness and lack of competitive action.

The last meeting between these two sides saw the Red Bulls edge a 2-1 home victory in October 2015, while the last clash in Montreal ended with a 1-1 draw in August 2015.

Team News

Montreal Impact will be without long-term absentee Andres Romero (knee), as well as Patrice Bernier and Cameron Porter (both hamstring). Didier Drogba will also miss the game as he’s struggling with a knee injury and doesn’t want to risk making it worse by playing on artificial turf.

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New York Red Bulls defender Damien Perrinelle remains out (knee), while forward Gonzalo Veron (hamstring) is also struggling with injury. Bradley Wright-Phillips will be hoping to find some form after not even registering a shot last weekend.

Key Points

Montreal Impact’s MLS form: W

New York Red Bulls’ MLS form: L

Key Stat: Since Mauro Biello took over as Montreal head coach in August 2015, the Impact have lost just three games in MLS – P15, W10, D2, L3 (including the MLS Cup playoffs).

Key Player: Ignacio Piatti – The Argentinian was inspirational in their away win at Vancouver last weekend, playing a part in all three goals, scoring two and assisting the other. There’s no doubting that the Red Bulls are going to have to work hard to stop Piatti if they want to head home with anything from this game.

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Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-1 New York Red Bulls – Montreal were very impressive against Vancouver, and while the Red Bulls played well in stages in their game, they just couldn’t break Toronto down. They’ll probably get on the scoresheet this time around, but it may not be enough to stop the Impact from making it two wins on the bounce and inflicting consecutive defeats on the 2015 Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield winners.

MLS Fantasy 2016: What you need to succeed

By Jamie Dawe

Every year the MLS Fantasy minefield blows up anyone who hasn’t fully considered their team selection or their formation. Many people watch their team slide down the leaderboard for the first month while they helplessly panic behind their computer screens. However, there are a few key things you ought to know before you set up your team for this year’s competition.

The New Rules

There are now only 16 players on your roster (rather than 18), but each team still has the same $120.0 budget, meaning you can fill your side with more stars than ever in 2016.

Points are now scored for players who suffer four fouls in a game, for every 35 passes that are completed with 85% accuracy and also for every four shots taken in a game. In addition, defenders and defensive midfielders can score points for clearances, interceptions, tackles and blocks. This will make players like Osvaldo Alonso ($8.5) and Matias Laba ($7.5) even more attractive propositions.

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The Roster

Having two goalkeepers gives you room to have a week-in-week-out starting goalkeeper and also a young up-and-coming ‘keeper who may get game time later in the season. I wouldn’t recommend spending anymore than $11.0 of your budget on the two goalkeeper positions.

Having five defenders gives you the opportunity to splash out on a back five if you’re the kind of manager who likes banking on reliable centre-backs who rack up clean sheets, interceptions and the odd headed goal. Many prefer to use just three defenders, with attacking full-backs becoming increasingly popular too.

The limit of five midfielders now means that building a successful five-man midfield is significantly harder to achieve. However, the increased budget per player could mean that a spend of $45.0 on your midfield may not be terminal.

Four strikers gives you the chance to have at least one low priced striker to make room elsewhere for a big golden boot challenger. Cheap options like Dominic Oduro ($7.5) and Tesho Akindele ($7.5) could become great investments for the season.

The Formation

There’s only one formation I can recommend for the first weeks of the fantasy season and that’s a 3-5-2. In the unpredictable and occasionally maddening league which is Major League Soccer, the only position you can truly rely on is that of the central midfielder. Regardless of the match, quality of the team or the scoreline – passing bonuses are sure to be gained and so I see players like Dax McCarty ($9.0) and Tony Tchani ($8.0) as safe bets for early points. You could also try a 3-4-3 or 4-4-2 if one of your strikers/defenders is likely to play in a midfield role. In my view, any other formation would be complete anarchism before the tone for the season has been set.

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The Must Haves

The increased budget per player has opened up teams to have three or four massive stars in their starting XI. This is why players like last year’s top points scorer Sebastian Giovinco ($11.5) are definitely worth having in your team for the start of the season. Another player along these lines is Ethan Finlay ($10.5), who will also benefit from the new passing bonus points.

However, this doesn’t mean that the most expensive players are always going to be the highest scoring. Strikers like Innocent Emeghara ($9.0) and Maximiliano Urruti ($8.5) are sure to get more playing time this season and they are both proven goalscorers. In defence, Dallas’ No. 1 Jesse Gonzalez ($6.0) might be worth an investment as FC Dallas have four home games in their first six. This home start makes Zach Loyd ($7.5) a steal at this value. On the cheaper side, Josh Saunders ($5.0) may suddenly have a less porous defensive line in front of him as NYCFC have dramatically bolstered their defensive options this offseason. Four home games in the first five won’t hurt either.

The Risks

A few players picked in this year’s SuperDraft may go straight into the starting lineup of some MLS sides. For example, Joshua Yaro ($6.0) and Brandon Vincent ($5.0) are bound to get plenty of playing time. Jordan Morris ($8.5) joining Seattle Sounders was possibly the biggest deal of the offseason and it’s anyone’s guess whether he’ll hit the ground running, or whether he’ll take more time to progress. The Colorado Rapids’ biggest offseason signing was Shkelzen Gashi ($9.0), who had been the top scorer in the Swiss Super League for the last two seasons. Whether he can single-handedly turn around the Rapids’ dreadful scoring record, I don’t know. The Rapids also have talented defender/midfielder Marlon Hairston ($5.0) returning from injury, but he might not be thrown straight back into the Starting XI from the outset.

The No-No’s

DC United goalkeeper Bill Hamid ($6.0) will be out for at least the first three months of the season and should be ignored. MLS Cup winners Portland have a new left back in Chris Klute ($7.0) but he could easily miss the first games of the season with a knee injury. Nigel De Jong ($9.0) is a new presence in the LA Galaxy midfield, but he is not known for his scoring exploits and is rather more known for racking up yellow cards, so I personally would wait and see if the new scoring system favours him. Also, for his price and his position as a forward in a fantasy squad Giovanni Dos Santos ($11.0) is probably worth a miss until he settles into his new role on the right side of in the Galaxy side.

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The Best Bench Warmers

Cameron Porter ($5.0) should gain significant value if he gets the playing time he was in line to receive before his horrific injury at the beginning of the 2015 season. Along these same lines, Andre Blake ($5.0) could be a starting ‘keeper for Philadelphia this year – and if he’s given the chance – he could become the best bargain ‘keeper in the league. Hadji Barry ($5.0) could also be given the chance to prove himself in a faster, more fluent Orlando City attack – and if he plays to his potential, his price will skyrocket very quickly.

This is just a brief overview of what can be an extremely in-depth game. However, if I were to tell you anymore of my secrets, there would be no point in picking your own team…

All I can do is wish you luck and may the fantasy force be with you!

Who do you think is an absolute must-have in MLS Fantasy 2016?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Chicago Fire

Competition: Major League Soccer – Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire 

Venue: Stade Saputo – Saturday, September 5 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal Impact 1/1 – Draw 5/2 – Chicago Fire 13/5

Match Preview

Montreal Impact welcome Eastern Conference rivals Chicago Fire to the Stade Saputo on Saturday night as the Canadian side look to push on for a playoff spot.

Montreal come into the game having lost their last three in MLS by a solitary goal. More worryingly, in a crucial point of the season they have only managed two wins in their last seven.

All could be on the way up though as reports early in the week suggest that Didier Drogba could be in line for his first start in the Montreal Blue after previously coming off the bench in a loss to Philadelphia Union.

Montreal Impact’s record in MLS: P23 – W8 – D4 – L11

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Chicago are in the middle of another season of struggle as they are still searching for their first away win of the season, which is embarrassing for a club with an abundance of attacking talent.

With one win in five, they have demonstrated consistent negative results and have left themselves with it all to do if they are to make the playoffs with just eight games to play.

They are currently the only side not to win away in MLS and defensive frailties have left Frank Yallop disappointed time and again.

Chicago Fire’s record in MLS: P26 – W7 – D6 – L13

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Suffering with a weak squad, the Fire look set to miss out on the playoffs yet again this year and that will be a major disappointment for the organisation after such a busy preseason.

Team News

Montreal Impact will be without Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper, Hassoun Camara and Ignacio Piatti through injuries. Didier Drogba is doubt with a toe injury but should be fit to start his first game for the Impact. Maxime Crepeau, Ambrose Bitolo, Eric Miller, Johan Venegas, Kyle Bekker are all on international duty and Laurent Ciman is suspended.

Chicago Fire are missing defenders Adailton and Ty Harden through injury. Joevin Jones, Matt Polster Daniel Cyrus, Collin Fernandez and David Accam are all on international duty.

Key Points

Montreal Impact’s last five: W/D/L/L/L

Chicago Fire’s last five: L/D/L/W/D

Key Stat: Chicago Fire haven’t won away in their last 20 matches in MLS.

Key Player: Dominic Oduro – Three goals in his last five appearances highlight the importance of Oduro in the Montreal attack. His eye for goal could cause Chicago huge problems on Saturday night.

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Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-1 Chicago Fire – Both sides are out of form and may see that as a chance to open out the game and have a go of it. Montreal being the home side should see them edge it as Chicago’s poor run on the road looks set to continue.

Dominic Oduro to dye hair in Montreal Impact club colours

Dominic Oduro recently joined the Montreal Impact from Toronto FC and has vowed to dye his hair the same colour as the club’s kit to show where his loyalties now lie.

The 29-year-old forward was talking to the Montreal Impact YouTube channel and said, “I just try to have fun with the hair. The fans love it so why don’t you give the fans what they want.”

It shows that there can be a light-hearted side to the beautiful game, and Oduro is trying his best to get the fans on his side before he’s even kicked a ball in a competitive match for the club.

“I just try to incorporate the team colours to my hair. When I was in Columbus, it was all yellow. When I was in Toronto, I changed a little bit to red. Now that I’m with the Impact we’re going to go blue obviously, and white and black a little bit, we’re going to mix it up.”

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Oduro isn’t sure when exactly he’s going to change it up, but it isn’t too far away. He said, “keep watching and the next time you see me on TV it’s not going to be the same. It’s going to be awesome.”

The Ghanaian will need to concentrate on the more serious on-field issues once the 2015 MLS season gets underway as he only managed two goals from 24 appearances at Toronto last year.

Perhaps a new club and new hair colour could be the answer to help him regain form.

Will Dominic Oduro find his goalscoring form in 2015?

Montreal Impact beat Cruz Azul in drama-filled friendly

The Montreal Impact beat current Liga MX leaders Cruz Azul 1-0 in a dramatic friendly on Tuesday afternoon ahead of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal showdown with Pachuca next week.

New arrival Dominic Oduro scored the only goal of the game for the Impact inside five minutes but Frank Klopas watched his side concede two penalties and have a man sent off before the final whistle.

Cruz Azul were awarded the first of their two penalties after half an hour but Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush saved the spot kick to keep the Canadian-based MLS side in the lead at halftime.

The drama increased in the second-half as Justin Mapp hit the post for the Impact before Jack McInerney and a Cruz Azul player were both sent off on 75 minutes.

Five minutes after the double sending off, the Mexican side were awarded their second penalty of the game but missed again as the post came to Montreal’s rescue.

The Impact held on to record their second win of preseason and now prepare to face another Liga MX side in Pachuca in their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal next Tuesday.

The first-leg of that tie will be played in Mexico before the return leg in Montreal the following Tuesday, just three days before the 2015 MLS season is set to kick off.

Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs Toronto FC

Toronto’s disappointing season is over as far as playoff hopes go, but they travel to an in-form New England on Saturday night looking to end the campaign on a high.

The Revs come into the game off the back of a good away win against Houston Dynamo last Thursday, they wrapped up a second place finish in the Eastern Conference with that result.

More would have been expected at the start of the season from Toronto and they will be disappointed with their season, as they struggled to ever find a good run of form.

The Revs have only lost one in their last nine all competitions and have been reaping the rewards in terms of their position in the table.

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Lee Nguyen, a challenger for the MVP award, has been excellent and his confidence has been sky high. Without his astonishing 17 goals from midfield, New England would not be second in the table.

Toronto need to have a strong finish to the season and reassess for next term, but they will be without Jermain Defoe once again, a situation they may have to get used to as his future is very much up in the air.

Dominic Oduro’s two goals in 23 games is far from satisfactory for a player with the potential he has, while Gilberto will have expected to score more than seven in his first season in MLS.

Key Player: Lee Nguyen – We’re running out of superlatives to describe the midfielder and he will be heavily involved in the game once again.

Key stat: Toronto have failed to keep a clean sheet in five, so we can expect goals.

New England Revolution Last 5: L/W/W/D/W

Toronto Last 5: W/L/L/L/D

Prediction: New England Revolution 2-1 Toronto

What did we learn as Columbus Crew finally taste victory in win against Chicago?

The Columbus Crew ended an eight-game winless streak in MLS with their first victory since March as they beat Chicago Fire 2-0 on Saturday night. Here are our key takeaways:

1. Ethan Finlay is quick, and dangerous…and quick.

The 23-year-old made his first appearance of the season, starting on the right-wing in place of Dominic Oduro and made an instant impact on the game. He opened the scoring for the Crew after he flew past Chicago defender Greg Cochrane to latch on to a fantastic pass by Federico Higuain, and slotted in from a tight angle after rounding goalkeeper Sean Johnson. It was his second of the season after he scored in last week’s 3-3 draw with Portland. His incredible pace was a threat all night and he is certainly dangerous.

2. Federico Higuain is playing excellent football.

The Argentine added to his wonderful performance last week by grabbing two assists against the Fire to ensure his team would finally win a game. His first past to Finlay was weighted perfectly, as was his pass with the outside of the boot to Jairo Arrieta, who coolly slotted through the legs of Johnson to make it 2-0 early on. Higuain is making everything tick for the Crew and they will pick up more and more wins if he continues in the form he is showing.

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(Photo: Higuain is putting in some inspired performances for the Crew)

3. A depleted Chicago really missed Mike Magee.

Magee missed the game with a late calf injury, and Chicago were not the attacking threat they have been without him. Quincy Amarikwa was partnered by Juan Luis Anangono up front, but the two couldn’t click as Magee and Amarikwa have been. Anangono had a glancing header come off the post in what was the Fire’s best chance of the game, but they were flat and below par all night. They will hope Magee returns in time for their game against LA Galaxy next week.

 

Columbus will want to add to their overdue win when they travel to Toronto next weekend. The Crew now sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference on 16 points, four higher than the Fire who fall to eighth.

Highlights via MLS on YouTube: