The Montreal Impact have a chance to secure a playoff berth this weekend thanks in part to a decisive win over the New England Revolution last month, but the Gillette Stadium turf could keep Didier Drogba on the bench.
With their top scorer’s status unknown, the Impact will try to earn their first road win over the Revolution in two years Saturday night while thwarting a team that’s also eager to wrap up a postseason spot.
Montreal (13-13-6) holds the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference following a 1-0 victory over Colorado last Saturday, just its third in 16 road games. The Impact had a chance to wrap up a berth before this visit to New England (13-11-8), but Orlando City won 2-1 over New York City FC on Friday.
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Montreal is one point ahead of Orlando with two contests remaining and a game in hand on the expansion club. The Impact made their only trip to the postseason in 2013.
"We control our own destiny," forward Dominic Oduro said. "We will be facing a good team and we are expecting a very good game. We need to go out there and battle to earn our spot."
The Impact’s slim lead is due in large part to a 4-0-2 record in September that included a season-best three consecutive victories. Montreal started that win streak by beating New England 3-0, with Drogba providing a goal and an assist.
The Impact’s designated player scored his ninth goal in nine games last weekend, but his club has earned back-to-back road wins just once in franchise history – its first two games in 2013.
The Impact will be without Laurent Ciman because of yellow card accumulation but should get fellow defender Ambroise Oyongo back from a suspension along with a number of other players who were on international duty last week.
The Revolution, meanwhile, won’t have Teal Bunbury because of yellow card accumulation but are expected to have Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen back from the United States national team.
"I was out with injury for a long time, so to get games in the legs was good," Jones said. "I’m looking forward to the game. We lost in Montreal really bad, so we want to try to do it differently."
Last season’s MLS Cup runner-up, 0-2-1 in its last three, can secure its return to the playoffs with a win or a tie. The Revolution are 5-0-1 in their last six home games and 1-0-1 in the past two visits from the Impact, playing to a scoreless draw March 21.
Montreal has played with 10 men for at least the final 27 minutes in the two matchups this season. Marco Donadel got a red card in the 72nd minute in last month’s game and Hassoun Camara received one in the 61st in March.