Breaking down Montreal
During Montreal's rough start to the club's inaugural MLS season, first-year coach Jesse Marsch has used a multitude of different players in different positions. This makes it difficult to 'scout' the Impact in the traditional sense, but there are a few tendencies that stand out in watching some of Montreal's most recent matches.
While Montreal has seen plenty of shifting inits lineup, it seems that Jesse Marsch prefers to play with a targetforward. The rookie coach has twochoices for the position in veteran Bernardo Corradi and Justin Braun. At 36 years old, Corradi has plenty of classdeveloped during stints in La Liga, Serie A and the EPL, but lacks the mobilityto make it dangerous. Braun hasgiven United fits in the past and - should he be the choice - D.C. fans can expect a heatedbattle between the lanky forward and Brandon McDonald.
The Impact midfield is full of serviceableplayers, but the only real string-puller is Davy Arnaud. Montreal's captain has proven he cancreate for others if given time and space, so Perry Kitchen's match-up againstArnaud will be critical. LamarNeagle, Justin Mapp and Sanna Nyassi are all capable of scoring from out on thewings, but an organized defensive effort should be enough to minimizetheir threat.
Though they haven't created many opportunities, the Impact have shown that they can capitalize when their opposition makes mistakes. There will inevitably be some turnovers at the back for D.C. come Wednesday night, and when they do occur the Black-and-Red need to be direct and efficient in destroying Montreal's counter-attack.
After scoring from a corner kick against NewEngland last week, the Black-and-Red should be looking for more of the sameagainst Montreal. The Impact hasstruggled to defend set pieces, allowing multiple free headers on corners and free kicksalike over the last two weeks. There will probably be plenty of such opportunities for United, as Montrealis - by far - the team that has committed the most fouls in MLS this season.
Despite their struggles in defense (Montreal's14 goals allowed is more than any other team in the league), the Impact doeshave a dogged holding midfielder to make life difficult for Dwayne DeRosario. The Brazilian is physical- he ranks second in the league in fouls committed - and fit, so DeRo canexpect a stiff test for the full ninety minutes.
In goal, Donovan Ricketts is starting to show signs of age. No longer the imposing, athleticpresence that won MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2010, the Jamaican isrelying more than ever on his expert understanding of the game. Because of Ricketts' 6-foot-5 frame heis still capable of making a rare bailout save, but he has been asked to do itfar too much this season. D.C.'s players shouldn't hesitate to shoot from anywhere in the final third as Ricketts has been beatable from distance early in the season.