MLS Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. Montreal Impact

Venue: CenturyLink Field – Saturday, April 2 – 22:00 ET (03:00 BST)

Match Odds: Seattle 10/11 – Draw 5/2 – Montreal 3/1

Match Preview

Seattle Sounders welcome Montreal Impact to CenturyLink Field on Saturday night as they look to make amends to their woeful start to the 2016 season.

The Sounders have lost all three of their games and are bottom of the Western Conference as a result. They come into this one off the back of their 2-1 home loss against Vancouver and need to pick up quickly.

Sigi Schmid will be more than concerned by this start to the season and will already be feeling intense pressure. His side must pick up their first win as soon as possible otherwise they could be at risk of confidence dropping to rock bottom, while finding themselves in a long run of bad form.

A win here wouldn’t even take Seattle off bottom spot but it’s not all doom and gloom, there is plenty of time to turn things around. But that change needs to happen, otherwise it could become a difficult season for the Sounders faithful to endure.

Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps 2016

By contrast, Montreal Impact have had a great start to 2016 and are sitting top of the Eastern Conference after their first three outings.

They won their opening two ties but do come into this one off the back of their 2-0 loss away against FC Dallas.

Mauro Biello will be delighted with his side but their loss last time out shows there is still room for improvement – they will see this as a great chance to continue their good run of form against Seattle, who they have had the better of more often than not.

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Team News

Seattle will be without Brad Evans, Roman Torres and Erik Friberg once again, while Michael Farfan remains a doubt

Montreal Impact could be without up to six players through injury. Andres Romero, Cameron Porter, Patrice Bernier and Maxime Crepeau are all expected to miss out, while Marco Donadel and Laurent Ciman are both doubtful.

Key Points

Seattle Sounders’ form: L/L/L

Montreal Impact’s form: W/W/L

Key Stat: Seattle have only beaten Impact once in their four meetings (W1, L3) in Major League Soccer.

Key Player: Ignacio Piatti – The Impact man has had a great start to the 2016 campaign and has netted three in three.
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Score Prediction

Seattle Sounders 1-2 Montreal Impact – It’s tough to see things drastically improving for Seattle in the short term as they haven’t been good enough in their opening three games. This will be a tight affair but playing against a Montreal side with such attacking quality will be the last thing Seattle need coming into this round of fixtures.

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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.

2016 MLS Season Preview: Montreal Impact

As the 2016 MLS season edges closer, we’ll be publishing each team’s MLS 2016 Season Preview. Today we take a look at what Montreal Impact will be hoping to achieve this season.

There is a genuine sense of excitement surrounding Montreal Impact ahead of the 2016 season, with plenty to build on after a great end to the last campaign. The Impact recorded their highest points total (51) since joining MLS in 2012 and reached the Conference Semifinals of the MLS Playoffs. They will be disappointed not to have gone all the way to MLS Cup but the team now have a real chance with Didier Drogba ready to start his first full MLS campaign. Finishing as high as third again will be a tough ask but Mauro Biello will feel he has a squad capable of doing just that as he prepares for his first full season in charge.

Last season’s finish:

Eastern Conference – Position: 3rd – P34 – W15 – D6 – L13

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What needs to change this year?

There is nothing substantial the Impact will need to change this year. They ended the 2015 regular season with six wins from their last eight and boasted the best form in MLS come the final day. They will look to start better this time around, after failing to win in their first five games last term. One thing that they must be wary of is over-relying on Didier Drogba. As good as the Ivorian was, Montreal must ensure they can cope without the striker in case of injury or a midseason departure.

Key changes to squad:

Ins: Kyle Fisher – Defender, Lucas Ontivero – Midfielder & Harry Shipp – Midfielder.

Outs: Justin Mapp – Midfielder, Dilly Duka – Midfielder, Kenny Cooper – Forward, Nigel Reo-Coker – Midfielder & Eric Miller – Defender.

Key Player:

Didier Drogba – Forward – Impossible to mention anyone other than Drogba as Montreal’s key man. The former Chelsea striker netted 11 goals in 11 regular season games after joining the club and also bagged a playoff goal as he quickly proved himself to be one of the most lethal strikers in Major League Soccer. He will turn 38 just after the season starts but looks set for a big season in what could be his last.

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One to Watch:

Lucas Ontivero – Midfielder – Montreal haven’t made many preseason signings but Lucas Ontivero is an eye-catching acquisition. The 21-year-old Argentine winger joins on loan for the season from Turkish side Galatasaray. He spent time with the likes of Real Madrid, Tottenham and AC Milan as a youngster and will hope to take MLS by storm in 2016.

Predicted Finish:

Eastern Conference – 5th – While there is a real air of expectancy around Montreal for 2016, the worrying over-reliance on Didier Drogba means that it’s difficult to see them transferring their end-of-season form from last year into the whole of the 2016 campaign. They should still comfortably make the playoffs once again but finishing as high as they did last season will be a tough task. Don’t rule out a deep playoff charge, though.

What are you expecting from Montreal Impact in 2016?