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CCL Preview: Red Bulls, Impact square off in vital Group 3 encounter

MarcoDiVaio (USA Today Images)

Photo by Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports


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.


    • You’re welcome Soccer Blood. I’ll reveal that I have a bit of history here since the club I played for had Eski and Hubert as members while they were playing for the Cosmos. Good people who taught me a great deal about the game and the NASL.

  1. You poor fool NASA fan. Winning the SHIELD is actually considered pretty cool ,Let me explain it to you .It means that team finished FIRST amongst all teams in both conferences? So unilke a team that gets “hot” and wins the last 4 games of the MLS, winning the SHIELD means that team is considered numero UNO as in 1st? understand now? I suggest you go back to watching hockey and maybe if the puck hits you on the head …..then you may get it? That is the way MLS sets it up. It’s not that complicated kid.

    • I’m sorry, but you’re making sense here. Do you think NASL fan will even understand any of this? Winning the league is considered the major prize in just about every league in the world. This (MLS Cup) manufactured tournament is for the almighty dollar and nothing else. It’s a mini league cup, nothing more.

      • I would think a NASA fan would be smart enough to know this. With all that science and physics, you’ll think a simple league table wouldn’t be over their heads.

    • This is someone who thinks a minor league team playing in a college stadium in front of 3k/4k crowds is the most powerful and important club in the country so I’m not sure comprehension is his strong suit.

  2. Red Bull can still win the group in the event they tie or lose today, so regardless of who they play it shouldn’t be described as considering “scrapping the CCL”.

    • Understood, but the other two remaining CCL group games are also sandwiched in between MLS games, and thus will present Petke with the same dilemma.

  3. Red Bull Management,

    The team desparately needs speed up top. Any chance you can swing a deal (players, draft picks, $$$) for Union’s Andrew Wenger?

  4. Petke has got to field at least a representative lineup or this risks turning into a debacle like the Backe-less USOC match a few years back. Sitting three of your best players is already pretty close to waving the white flag, Credit to Petke for trying to prepare for games like this by giving kids like Miazga plenty of time earlier, but it’s so frustrating to see them in this position when the friont office knew about this stretch many months ago. Even mopre frustrating is Oyongo’s absence because of visa issues, about which Petke admitted he knew absolutely nothing. Shame on RBNY for not resolving that, and for repeatredly putting Petke in the position of admitting that he knows no details of a given issue, whether it’s injuries, or somebody not playing on artificial turf, or a third DP, or the about-face on having a USL Pro side, or whatever.

  5. I think Petke youtubes the old Chelsea vs Barcelona CCL matches where Mourinho absolutely parks the bus and counters twice all game and wins. With an all 2nd and 3rd stringers sure to be in the NY lineup, that’s the best way we come out of a prepped Montreal side with points. Vive le Metro!


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