MLS Playoffs – New York Red Bulls v Montreal Impact Preview (6/11/16)

New York Red Bulls preview

Is the Red Bull playoff curse going to strike again? Jess Marsch’s men entered the postseason unbeaten in 16 MLS games but it did them no good last week when Montreal beat them 1-0 in Canada. A superb ‘golazo’ by Matteo Mancosu was the difference between the two sides and the Red Bulls are now going to have to play catch up. Perhaps the biggest concern was their failure to score an away goal. That cost them dearly against Columbus Crew last season and it leaves them very vulnerable to the Montreal counter attack. A 2-1 or 3-2 win wouldn't be enough for New York. Should they concede, then a win by more than a one goal margin would be needed. On the positive side, they have an excellent record at Red Bull Arena, both in an offensive and defensive capacity. Left back Kemar Lawrence is rated doubtful because of injury, whilst winger Mike Grela picked up a knock in training and might have to start from the bench.

Montreal Impact preview

The Impact got what they wanted out of the first leg, a slender advantage and more importantly a clean sheet. They are probably the only side in the Eastern Conference who can consistently put up good defensive displays when required. Spearheaded by Laurent Ciman at the back, they are a really strong unit when in the right sort of mood. Montreal were knocked out at this stage last season by Columbus Crew, following extra time. I’m sure the Impact will try and sit back, soak up as much pressure as they can, then hit the Red Bulls with some counter attacks. The best thing about Montreal is their ability to mix up tactics, they are extremely adaptable and are likely to have a number of gameplans to switch to, should the need arise.  Didier Drogba has been in the news recently for refusing to play for the Impact. He’s set to return here, although will have to be content with a place on the bench.

Conclusion & betting analysis

The Red Bulls have to be careful here. They need to win, but also can’t afford to concede a goal otherwise their task will be made much harder. This is a team that can never be trusted in the playoffs, something always seems to go wrong for them. If things get close and tense then a lot of their players have proven to crack when the pressure is really on. The longer this stays 0-0 then the more risks the hosts will have to take, and Montreal could be lethal on the break with the likes of Oduro & Pitti. Unlike the Colorado mach I think this fixture will open up in the first half. The Red Bulls will want to score early and get on top of Montreal, whilst the visitors will know how valuable an away goal would be. If the Impact do score, and I think they will, then this match could go crazy. Therefore, I think over 2.75 is worth backing. There are a number of situations that could lead to a high scoring encounter and I think at least three goals will be scored overall.

Prediction: 3-2

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.75 goals @ 1.82