|Major League Soccer|
· Int'l Soccer
Saturday, May 19, 2012 (All times Eastern)
New York (7-3-1) at Montreal (3-5-3), 7:30 p.m.
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Something has to give at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
The Montreal Impact are set to host Red Bull New York in their first Major League Soccer meeting north of the border as the two sides put their respective four-game unbeaten streaks to the test. Montreal is 2-0-2 over its last four games while New York has won four in a row.
The Red Bulls are coming off of a 3-2 defeat of the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on Sunday which marked the end of goalkeeper Ryan Meara's shutout streak at 322 minutes, an MLS-record for a rookie stopper.
Meara has been massive over the last few games, making a slew of clutch saves to help New York climb to the summit of the Eastern Conference. But the Fordham University product was quick to credit Rafa Marquez, who returned to the pitch vs. Philadelphia after serving a three-game suspension, as a key influence in extending the club's winning streak.
"I thought he was great, especially in the second half," said Meara. "He really controlled the game and picked out some passes that only he can do. We're happy to have him back, definitely."
As the Red Bulls welcome Marquez back to the fold, they will be without Jan Gunnar Solli for Saturday's match in Montreal as well as New York's home match against Chivas USA on Wednesday.
"He will not be playing in either of these two games," said head coach Hans Backe. "It's a kind of a tear in his thigh, the risk is too big to gamble with that."
Montreal rode a two-game winning streak into its last match, a home tilt against the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Impact went in front after just eight minutes thanks to Davy Arnaud but the Galaxy drew level through a patented David Beckham free kick in the second half to see the two sides share the spoils with a goal apiece.
Saturday's clash against the Red Bulls will mark the end of the Impact's stint in the Olympic Stadium as the club gets set to move to the Stade Saputo on June 16. It may be an unwelcomed move as Montreal is 2-0-2 at home this season.
Overall, Montreal started its debut season in MLS on the slow side, losing four of its first five contests. It has since lost just once, a 2-1 defeat at FC Dallas on April 14.
"We're still moving ourselves along with poise and savviness on the ball," Impact head coach Jesse Marsch said. "That's still something that, especially on turf, doesn't come as frequent as we all want it to come along. This is part of our growing together, and another step that we need to be shooting for."
05/18 15:33:42 ET
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