Red Bulls-Impact Preview

The surging New York Red Bulls and expansion Montreal Impact are

playing down what happened the first time they met.

The Impact look like a much-improved club since that matchup and

will try to end the visiting Red Bulls’ four-game win streak

Saturday night.

New York (7-3-1) won 5-2 at home over Montreal (3-5-3) on March

31 in the only game the Impact have conceded more than two


Montreal owns two wins and a draw in its last three games

heading into this rematch.

“It’s not about revenge, it’s about us improving every game,”

defender Shavar Thomas said. “At that point when we lost 5-2, it

was early in the season but we’re on the right path now and it’s

about improving every game and winning.”

New York got a hat trick in that game from Thierry Henry,

currently out with a strained right hamstring. Henry would have

been a major draw to the French-speaking fans in Montreal.

The Red Bulls believe Henry’s absence and the change of venue

will make this game tougher, also pointing to the fact that the

first matchup was tied at halftime.

“It was a quite even game, even if we were winning (by) scoring

five goals,” coach Hans Backe said. “It will be hard to beat them

on the road.”

Henry was hurt in the first game of this hot streak, exiting in

the 25th minute of a 1-0 victory over New England on April 28. That

began a run of three straight 1-0 victories before Sunday’s 3-2

comeback win at Philadelphia.

With rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara playing well and a banged-up

defensive unit starting to jell, the Red Bulls are gaining in

confidence after taking the Eastern Conference lead.

“These four games, it’s been good defending, taking chances and

hard, hard work from the team so it’s been phenomenal,” Backe


The Red Bulls acquired defender Heath Pearce and allocation

money from Chivas USA on Thursday for disgruntled 19-year-old

striker Juan Agudelo, who was unhappy with his playing time. It’s

not clear if Pearce will play Saturday.

Davy Arnaud had the lone goal for Montreal last Saturday in a

1-1 tie with Los Angeles. The Impact have two wins and two draws in

Olympic Stadium, where they will play for the final time Saturday

before moving to the new Stade Saputo next month.

“I have seen games from their stadium and there just seems to be

an incredible energy and a passion from the stands,” said Red Bulls

forward Kenny Cooper, who is tied with Henry for second place in

MLS with nine goals.

The Impact have given up one goal during their unbeaten run,

with Donovan Ricketts picking up his first two shutouts of the

year. Ricketts allowed his most goals in three seasons the first

time versus the Red Bulls.

“We are a different team than we were when we were in New York

and that was an important lesson that we went through in that

game,” coach Jesse Marsch said.