Impact-Red Bulls Preview
Seeking a third consecutive win to continue their climb up the Eastern Conference table, the New York Red Bulls also look to sweep their three-game homestand Wednesday night when they host the Montreal Impact.
The Red Bulls (3-4-2) have taken the maximum six points from this homestand thus far, following up their 1-0 victory over FC Cincinnati with a 3-2 triumph over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday. Marc Rzatkowski and substitute Derrick Etienne scored goals eight minutes apart in the second half for New York, with the latter only good after VAR confirmed Brian White was not offside.
"Two wins in two games, that's the best thing you can do and two goals in two games, isn't bad," said Etienne, who scored the match-winner for Red Bulls II in their USL match versus Birmingham Legion SC mid-week. "We always talk about the starters emptying the tanks and then the guys coming off the bench are going to know what to do on the field, and today was a prime example of that."
"To see him take those games seriously - then it's not such a surprise," Red Bulls coach Chris Armas told ProSoccer USA about Etienne. "They are getting these real reps. And then just to see Derrick get rewarded with the work he's put in and a big goal, and we know he loves those moments. He's built for those moments."
Etienne's offensive contribution was timely considering striker Bradley Wright-Phillips went a fifth straight league match without scoring. A three-time 20-goal scorer in MLS, Wright-Phillips has just one in 10 matches in all competitions.
Montreal (5-4-2) continues to look for sources of offense until playmaker Ignacio Piatti is able to return from injury. The Argentine midfielder missed his eighth consecutive match last weekend, and the Impact failed to register a shot on target in their 2-0 home loss to New York City FC.
It was the fourth time in eight matches without Piatti that Montreal failed to score, and the Impact only hit the back of the net once in three other contests. Evan Bush got the Impact off to a poor start, spilling a rebound Maximiliano Moralez slammed home in the sixth minute, and the Impact conceded the second four minutes after halftime.
"Nacho is probably the best player on the team," Impact defender Jukka Raitala told the Montreal Gazette regarding Piatti. "We really hope he can come back as soon as possible, but we still have a good enough team that we have showed that we have played some fantastic games. So it's not all about that one player. … I think it was a lack of aggressivity and sharpness today."
Saphir Taider shares the team lead with Piatti with three goals, but the Algeria international has gone six games without scoring.
The home team won both matches last year, with the Red Bulls recording a 3-1 victory as Wright-Phillips scored a goal and set up Kaku's go-ahead marker on 57 minutes. Montreal has just one win in 11 trips to Red Bull Arena in all competitions (1-9-1), a 2-1 victory in 2016.
Updated May 7, 2019