The Montreal Impact will be preparing to host a rejuvenated New York City FC side on Wednesday night at Saputo Stadium.
The hosts suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat in Atlanta this weekend as Atlanta United FC continues to make their new home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a fortress. Another result that will be viewed as disappointing is NYCFC's 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo on Saturday. NYCFC were forced to host the match at a temporary home in Rentschler Field and the rare lack of home support may have caused less intensity shown by the players.
This is the second of two meetings between the two Eastern Conference clubs. The first one was held at Yankee Stadium in March and resulted in a 1-1 draw. A Rodney Wallace goal on the brink of halftime put the home side ahead but was later equalized by a Dominic Oduro goal in the 68th minute.
Both sides will be hoping for all three points this time around as Atlanta continues to chase NYCFC for the number two seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs. On the other hand, Montreal will be looking for a win themselves in hopes of reaching the playoffs. Montreal currently sits just three points behind the New York Red Bulls for the sixth and final Eastern Conference spot in the playoffs.
Montreal Impact: The hosts are fortunate enough to have just one player missing for Wednesday's match: Ambroise Oyongo. The Cameroonian left back underwent knee surgery back in June and will miss the remainder of the season.
New York City FC: The blue side of New York have struggled with injuries for weeks now and finally, things are looking better for them. Ronald Matarrita, who has spent much of the season sidelined with injuries, has returned to full strength and is expected to start picking up minutes heading into the playoffs. Two of NYCFC's three preferred midfielders have also been absent recently but again, things are looking better.
Alex Ring returned to the lineup on Saturday and didn't look affected by his toe injury. Yangel Herrera was also taken off the injury list heading into Wednesday's match with Montreal. The Venezuelan international will be hoping to play a part in future NYCFC success as his loan deal will end at the end of the 2017 MLS playoffs.
Unfortunately, only so much good can happen at one time. NYCFC will still be short a few players heading into Montreal. Miguel Camargo, who suffered a non-displaced hip fracture while on international duty with Panama in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, will remain on the injury list. Leader of the backline, Maxime Chanot, will also continue to recover from his hernia surgery which took place just over a month ago. NYCFC are hoping to have him back in time for the playoffs.
The final miss for NYCFC is James Sands. The club's first ever homegrown player made his debut earlier in the month but left the team for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. The young American will be hoping to help his country lift yet another trophy.
Following the match against NYCFC, Montreal will close out the season with matches in Colorado and Toronto before hosting New England at home to finish the season. First up, the Mile High City. Montreal will travel to Dick's Sporting Goods Park to take on a struggling Colorado Rapids side.
Following that, a trip to face their Canadian rivals, Toronto FC at BMO Field. Toronto has looked almost unstoppable for much of the MLS season but was recently stopped by Montreal, can they do it again? Finally, Montreal will welcome the New England Revolution to Saputo Stadium for the final match of their regular season campaign. Montreal will need positive results in almost all of these games if they want to reach the playoffs.
NYCFC will also travel two more times following the match in Montreal before finishing out the season at Yankee Stadium. They'll travel to Toyota Park for the first and only time this season to take on the Chicago Fire. Following that, they'll face off against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. This will be the third meeting between the two clubs, and the first away from home for NYCFC. Last but not least, NYCFC will host Columbus Crew SC at Yankee Stadium. NYCFC hopes to gain maximum points from these fixtures as Atlanta United are on their heels hoping to steal the first round playoff bye from NYCFC.