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Crossing the Touchline: Montreal Impact at Columbus Crew SC

The Black & Gold are looking for a little revenge after last month's disappointing defeat to Montreal.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

A month minus two days. That's the time difference between the last meeting between Columbus Crew SC and the Montreal Impact.

That match was north of the border in Canada at Stade Olympique. It was played on turf. It was a 2-0 victory for the Impact.

Heading into this match, Montreal sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, six points ahead of the Black & Gold. The Impact are boosted by the return to regular play of striker Didier Drogba who did not feature in the last match between the two clubs.

Crew SC's disappointing start to the season has continued with a dramatic 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders last weekend. What was once a strength for the club, offensive firepower, has become a head scratching weakness of late. Columbus hopes a return home will help open the goalscoring floodgates and put another check in the win column.

To get a better perspective on Montreal, we spoke once again with John Richan of Mount Royal Soccer.

Questions for Mount Royal Soccer

Massive Report: Top of the East, that must be nice. How much are fans buying into the early season success of the Impact?

Mount Royal Soccer: I don't think anyone will complain about being on top of the East at the moment! Having said that, the performances the Impact have put in over the last month or so have not been all that convincing, so there is a little bit of uneasiness among the supporters. Things looked like they were starting to go a little better last weekend against Colorado, however Montreal gave up the lead twice and ended up only securing a point. Montreal are a team going through some injury problems at the moment (seems to be the case every season) and the players don't seem quite in sync at the moment. Being in first place is nice, however I think everyone is still cautiously optimistic... it is a long season.

MR: Since the sides last met, Didier Drogba has featured in all of Montreal's games. First, do you expect him to start again in this one? Second, what are the differences in the Impact's play when he's on the pitch?

MRS: Good question! I really did not expect him to play three full ninety minute games last week, but he did. I think it is obvious that if Drogba feels he is ready to play, he is going to play as much as possible. So if we work on that logic, I think that yes, we probably will see him on Saturday. When Didier Drogba is on the pitch the Impact are instantly a stronger group. His ability to score from any situation at any given time will always pose a threat to opposing teams. The problem that the Impact have suffered over the last couple weeks is finding a rhythm with Drogba up front and being able to get him the ball on a regular basis. If these two things ever get clicking at full speed, this team will be really fun to watch.

MR: If there were one area of the Impact's setup that Crew SC could attack, what would it be and why would that be the case?

MRS: At the moment the Impact are going through some injury issues, especially at the back. Donny Toia, Hassoun Camara and Victor Cabrera have all missed time recently. Although their replacements have done a fantastic job, it is an area that is ripe to be exposed. Although Maxim Tissot plays with a ton of heart, he is a player the Crew could potentially expose down the wing. Montreal has also struggled in 2016 (and before) defending set pieces.

Interested in Massive Report's responses to Mount Royal Soccer's questions? Head on over to their site and take a look what we had to say.