Impact looking for rare win in New Jersey as rivalry with Red Bulls continues

In this file photo, Montreal Impact forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel falls in front of New York Red Bulls midfielder Aaron Long during second half MLS action Saturday, June 3, 2017 in Montreal. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

The Montreal Impact are a different team under new coach Remi Garde but they hope it isn’t the same old result when they visit the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

The Impact have played eight times at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., since joining Major League Soccer in 2012 and have lost them all, being outscored 25-7 along the way. That included a 4-0 loss last July.

Then again, they won there in a playoff game against the Red Bulls in 2016 en route to the Eastern Conference final.

So while it may not match the intensity of Montreal’s rivalry with Toronto FC, there is a history between the clubs that gives extra zest to Impact-Red Bulls matches.

“The series we had with them a couple of years ago played into that as well, where we knocked them out after they’d had such a fantastic regular season,” goalkeeper Evan Bush said this week.

Story continues below advertisement

“Then the proximity. To see one team so many times each year you develop a rivalry. We know they’re one of the top teams in the league every season. And there’s always a contrast in style in the way they play and the way we traditionally have played, so you get a bit of everything.”

The Impact (2-3) are coming off a 4-0 loss in New England in which midfielder Saphir Taider was sent off after 15 minutes, so he will sit out the game with a suspension. But they will have top midfielder Ignacio Piatti back after missing one match with a thigh injury.

READ MORE: Farrell gets 1st career goal, Revs beat 10-man Impact 4-0

The Red Bulls (2-2) will be playing a second game in five days after a heartbreaker 0-0 draw with Chivas Guadalajara, losing their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal 1-0 on aggregate goals.

So both Garde and Red Bulls bench boss Jesse Marsch, who coached the Impact in 2012, have lineup decisions to make.

The Red Bulls beat Portland only four days after a Champions League match on March 10 and lost 1-0 at Salt Lake in the same situation on March 17.

“After the last round of Champions League I think every team lost the following week, but New York’s a bit of a unique one because they’re much younger than most of the teams in their situation and they’ve shown they’re not scared to mix a lot of their younger guys into league play,” said Bush. “They’ve done really well to get results when doing that.”

Story continues below advertisement

“They have a very unique style. They press all over the field. They’re very fit. We have to be prepared for them throwing out their best possible lineup in the best way they can. We’ll be ready for their top guys. It’s going to be one of the biggest challenges we’ve had this year.”

Garde made major roster changes since he look over from Mauro Biello in November, so many will get a first look at the Red Bulls. New York also has new blood, although stalwarts like goalie Luis Robles, defender Kemar Lawrence, midfielder Daniel Royer and striker Bradley Wright-Phillips remain.

READ MORE: Vargas’ goal pushes Impact past short-handed Sounders, 1-0

Red Bulls midfielder Alex Muyl told the MLS website this week his team needs a quick in change in mindset from the Champions League to MLS play.

“I think it is going to be a test for us to control our emotions and be able to switch our view to the most important thing, which is the thing ahead of us,” Muyl said. “Although it was a wild ride for us and something we all cared about, now we have to focus on the task at hand and work our way up the charts and try to get in playoff position.”

The Impact will play away from home for a fifth time in six matches to open the season, but at least they will be back on a grass pitch after seeing artificial turf in four in of their first five games. A forecast of 24C for the New York area should also help.

Story continues below advertisement

“We have changed a lot and the Red Bulls too, so it’s a different match,” said Piatti. “They have a good team, so we have to do the good things we did in Seattle (a 1-0 away win on March 31) to win there.”

Striker Matteo Mancosu also returned from a calf injury this week, but Garde said he may need more time to build up his fitness before he can start. That suggests that Jeisson Vargas, who leads the team with two goals, will get another start up front.

The Impact return home next week to face Los Angeles FC.

Sponsored content