Who: Montreal Impact vs New York Red Bull
When: Sunday, October 6th @ 4:00pm ET
Line: Montreal +155 | Draw +280 | New York Red Bulls +143
Playoff position and the chance to host a first round playoff match will be in the balance for the New York Red Bulls when they face an already eliminated Montreal Impact side this Decision Day at Stade Saputo Stadium.
Fifth place New York wasted an opportunity to move up to the fourth spot (which comes with hosting rights) in last Sunday’s goalless home draw versus old rivals DC United. With United wrapping up its regular season at home to league worst FC Cincinnati, it is likely that those two dropped points will end up costing the Red Bulls a realistic chance at a home re-match versus DC in the single elimination opening round.
Sunday will put a lid on what was a disappointing regular season for the 2018 MLS Supporters Shield winners. RBNY were expected to challenge defending MLS Cup champion Atlanta United and cross river rivals New York City Football Club for the Eastern Conference in 2019.
Then again, perhaps this is the year that New York flips the playoff switch and makes a run at the MLS Cup, the ultimate prize that has so far eluded the league’s original New York franchise.
Montreal Impact vs New York Red Bulls Match Preview
Montreal does not figure to put up much of a fight after last week’s meek capitulation at home to Atlanta, unless Impact owner Joey Saputo’s postgame, shape up or ship out, diatribe awakens his underperforming charges.
With a victory on Sunday essential, if the Red Bulls are to have any hope of hosting, New York’s attack will have to take advantage of Montreal’s defense, second most generous in the East this year only to record setting Cincinnati.
Prior to that 0-0 draw versus DC, the Red Bulls had run off a three match streak of scoring two goals per game following a 2-0 loss in Colorado back on August 31. No longer able to rely on Bradley Wright-Phillips to filling the score sheet, coach Chris Armas’ side has done a good job of spreading the wealth in recent weeks. Only Daniel Royer, with two, has scored multiple goals over the Red Bulls previous four matches.
Royer has done it all year long for New York and with striker Brian White, who picked up some of the slack in BWP’s absence still unavailable, Royer will be in the spotlight once more.
Defensively the Red Bulls have improved as well, carrying a streak of three consecutive shutouts into Sunday’s Decision Day showdown in Montreal. Central defense pair Aaron Long and Tim Parker finally seem to be on the same page. Kemar Lawrence is reminding us all just how good he can be while Kyle Duncan has provided solid defense and an athletic outlet on the wing and seems to have displaced Panamanian international Michael Murillo on Armas’ team sheet.
A loss to the Impact Sunday in Montreal could see the Red Bulls fall farther down the table, with Toronto FC just a single point behind the Red Bulls and facing Columbus, out of the playoff race, at home on Decision Day.
For Montreal, adding former “next Messi” Bojan Krkić alongside perennial star Ignacio Piatti did not prove to be the secret to getting the Impact back into the playoffs for the first time since 2016, a turn of events that resulted in Saputo dressing down his team ad is likely to lead into a turbulent off-season for the franchise.