The Saturday night MLS contest that has the New York Red Bulls visiting the Montreal Impact features two teams currently holding playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, but at opposite ends of the spectrum.
New York (17-6-4, 55 points) sits on top of the Eastern Conference, as well as boasting the top mark in MLS play. Montreal (10-14-3, 33 points) sits precariously in the sixth and final playoff spot the East.
Heading into the contest at Saputo Stadium, New York is one point up on Atlanta United but has played one more game than their closest rival.
This will be the fifth game for New York in the past 15 days, but the condensed schedule hasn’t slowed the team. The Red Bulls are on a 4-0-2 streak that includes victories in their past two matches, both in New York. A 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday vaulted New York over Atlanta into the East’s top spot.
The Red Bulls traditionally perform well at home, but they have found success on the road this year as well, going 6-4-3, just two wins away from the franchise record set in 2000.
In the win over Houston, the goal came from Brian White, who was making his first MLS start.
“Honestly, it’s a dream come true,” White said postmatch on MSG. “Ever since I was a young kid I wanted to be at this level, play for this team in front of my friends and family. (In) the first 90 minutes with an MLS team, to get a goal, it’s a dream come true. A night I will remember.”
Montreal, which has won once in its past six, is holding onto the last playoff spot by four points over seventh-place New England but has played two more games than the Revolution.
In their last game, the Impact gave up three goals in the first 29 minutes in a 3-1 loss to Toronto FC.
“We must not forget the history of our season,” Impact manager Remi Garde said. “The difficult beginning and then why and how we have recovered, with what principles of play and with what state of mind in these principles of play. I think (our top form is) a few games away.”
—Field Level Media