Impact-Red Bulls Preview

With good defense comes a good chance of success.

The New York Red Bulls have found that to be the case as they

try to extend their recent surge Wednesday night at the expense of

the Montreal Impact in a clash of Eastern Conference

co-leaders.

New York (5-4-2) and Montreal (5-1-2) are two of four teams with

17 points in the East heading into this week’s matches. The Red

Bulls have seen their back line become more cohesive of late as

Brandon Barklage, Jamison Olave, Markus Holgersson and Roy Miller

have entrenched themselves as starters, conceding only three goals

while winning four of their last five matches after yielding 10 in

their first six.

They wrapped up a two-game road swing with six points after

stifling Columbus on Saturday in a 1-0 victory. Tim Cahill again

came up big offensively, scoring the match’s only goal in the 80th

minute after netting both in New York’s 2-1 win at Toronto FC on

April 27, and goalkeeper Luis Robles stopped Federico Higuain’s

penalty kick eight minutes before Cahill struck.

“The defense has been incredible,” Robles, who had six saves,

told the team’s official website. “As far as the effort that

they’ve given for 90 minutes, the way that they’ve worked for each

other, the way they’ve covered for each other. If that’s something

that we can continue to produce for us this season, we’re going to

be dangerous.”

The Impact had allowed one goal over their previous two games

heading into San Jose on Saturday, but that defense failed them

after halftime. Up 2-0 at the break, Montreal conceded a pair of

second-half goals – including one by Sam Cronin in injury time –

and settled for a 2-all draw.

“It is always a shame to suffer an equalizing goal in the last

minutes of the game, but our team did well today with the heat, the

travel and pressure applied by the Earthquakes,” coach Marco

Schallibaum told the Impact’s official website. “Overall, we are

happy with the point on the road and the performance.”

Montreal has allowed four goals in going 0-1-1 its last two road

games after giving up just one in winning the first two.

Midfielder Justin Mapp, who scored on both sides of halftime to

account for Montreal’s offense, had put only one of his three shots

on goal in his previous five matches before connecting on both his

attempts Saturday. His only goal in 25 lifetime matches versus New

York came in last year’s 5-2 loss at Red Bull Arena – Montreal’s

only game there since joining MLS.

The Impact, though, have won the last two games between the

teams, including a 1-0 victory March 23. Marco Di Vaio scored in

the 14th minute and Troy Perkins made three saves for the second of

his three shutouts this season.