For the Montreal Impact, Saturday’s game at MAPFRE Stadium marks the end of a three week break from Major League Soccer action. Columbus Crew SC was off for nearly the same length, two and a half weeks, so both sides will be excited to get back to league play.
During the international break, both sides were active. The Impact played two matches in the Canadian Championship, losing a two-legged series to Toronto FC 4-2 on aggregate. Those two games were played June 1 and June 8, so it’s been 10 days since Montreal last played a match.
Meanwhile Crew SC got back on the pitch on Wednesday night, defeating the Tampa Bay Rowides 4-0 in the U.S. Open Cup. It was a makeshift lineup for the Black & Gold, who are dealing with quite a few injuries, but a return to league play will likely bring out more familiar faces.
While the Impact is 1-0-1 against Columbus this year, the Black & Gold lead the all-time MLS series 6-5-2. In those 13 meetings, each side has managed to score 19 goals. Montreal has only earned one win in seven meetings at Crew SC’s MAFRE Stadium, but did get a 4-4 draw in the earlier contest this season.
The Black & Gold know that playmaker Federico Higuain is out in this contest along with center back Gaston Sauro. Midfielders Mohammed Saeid and Cedrick Mabwati, forwards Ola Kamara and Conor Casey, and defender Tyson Wahl are all questionable for this match.
Montreal will be without their own playmaker in Ignacio Piatti who had surgery on his left hand. Midfielders Marco Donadel and Calum Mallace and defender Victor Cabrera are all out with injuries as well. Laurent Ciman is away with the Belgium national team.
Keys to the Match
- Fill the void: With so many players out on either side, who can find the right replacements to still get a result in this match?
- Fitness: With so long off from the last league matches, being able to maintain fitness and concentration for 90 minutes will be critical.
- Containing up top: Crew SC know the defenders have to be aware of Didier Drogba, but who will be up top for Columbus? Maybe the element of surprise will help the Black & Gold.
How to Watch
Date/Time: June 18, 2016/7:30 p.m. EST
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus, OH
Television: CW Columbus, TWC SportsChannel
Online: MLS Live
Radio: CD 102.5 (English), La Mega 103.1 (Spanish)