By CARL SETTERLUND
When the New York Red Bulls and Montreal Impact were both placed in Group 3 of the CONCACAF Champions League, it was immediately clear it would be the headliner of the group stage portion of the tournament, and today the two MLS sides will finally meet at Stade Saputo.
The Impact were long ago all but eliminated from MLS playoff contention, and much like D.C. United’s strategy with the U.S. Open Cup last year, head coach Frank Klopas intends to go all-in as the Impact pursue their first major trophy outside of the Canadian Championship.
It was with that in mind that Klopas withheld designated players Marco Di Vaio and Ignatio Piatti from last weekend’s MLS match against the New England Revolution. Both attackers are expected to feature as the Impact will play a full strength squad for tonight’s 8 p.m. fixture.
The Red Bulls are in much the opposite situation, with coach Mike Petke attempting a high wire act with his lineup ahead of a key MLS match against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday.
With the Red Bulls’ playoff chances still very much up in the air, they might be best served scrapping the CCL, while Petke has said he’d be okay with just a draw Wednesday night.
Bradley Wright-Phillips, Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill will all be absent from the lineup against the Impact and it remains to be seen how many regular starters will play.
With both squads beating up on the other team in their group, CD FAS of El Salvador, so far, the games between each other should prove decisive in which team advances to the quarterfinals.
Here’s an overview of the CCL action going on Wednesday night:
8pm — Fox Sports 2 USA — Montreal Impact vs. New York Red Bulls
8pm — Univision Deportes/Fox Soccer 2Go — Bayamón FC vs. América
10pm — Fox Soccer 2Go — Municipal vs. Real España
What do you think the result of tonight’s Impact-Red Bulls match will be? What do you think of the Impact’s strategy to focus on the CCL? What do the Red Bulls have to do to manage a draw?
Share your thoughts below.