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Preview: D.C. United at Montreal Impact

A pair of playoff hopefuls to meet Saturday afternoon at Saputo Stadium

MLS MATCHDAY 25

D.C. United vs Impact Montreal

Saturday, August 25 - 4:00 PM ET
TV: Direct Kick (USA) & MLS Live watch online

Minutes after the final whistle had blown on D.C. United’s4-2 win over Chicago on Wednesday night, Ben Olsen’s players had already movedon.  In the middle of a five-matchin twelve-day stretch, the Black-and-Red found little time to enjoy the threepoints secured against one of the league’s hottest teams.

“Our focus right now is Montreal,” Dwayne De Rosario saidfrom his locker in the aftermath of Wednesday’s thrilling triumph.  “They are another team that’s confidentright now, that’s been playing well of late and we’ll be going into a toughenvironment.”

The environment D.C.’s captain describes is Saputo Stadium,where Montreal have been extremely difficult to beat.  The Impact is 7-2 at home since opening their new facilityin mid-June, and haven’t lost there since July 4 to EasternConference-leading Kansas City. 

As much as the new stadium has sparked a dramatic turnaroundfor Jesse Marsch’s expansion side, a mid-season talent influx has marked thetrue difference as Montreal began its summer climb up the conference table.  Designated Player Marco Di Vaio wasbrought in for his clinical finishing touch, and over his last threeappearances – all Impact wins – the Italian has delivered two goals and anassist.

In late July, three-time Italian World Cup veteranAlessandro Nestra joined Montreal. Injuries have slowed his transition to MLS, but in Nesta’s twoappearances, the Impact are unbeaten. The 36-year-old is listed as questionable for the weekend with a rightknee sprain.

“It’s a bit of a different team now and as a first year teamthey have had more time to gel,” said Chris Pontius when asked to compare thecurrent Montreal team to the one D.C. beat handily at RFK on June 30.  “I expect it to be a much moredifficult game.”

In addition to being difficult, Saturday’s affair promisesto be critical to each team’s playoff fortunes.  D.C. does have three games in hand on Montreal, but theImpact sit just four points back of the Black-and-Red for the EasternConference’s final postseason spot.

“Montreal is a good team, they have won some games thanks to[Alessandro] Nesta’s arrival,” said Marcelo Saragosa.  “Three points there are very important.  They are right behind us [in thestandings], so a victory will be crucial.”

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REFEREE: Matthew Foerster. AR1 (bench):Adam Wienckowski; AR2 (opposite):Brian Poeschel; 4th:Mathieu Bourdeau
MLS Career: 3 games; FC/gm: 27.0; Y/gm: 6.3; R: 0; pens: 1

INJURY REPORT:

  • MONTREAL IMPACT – OUT: FW Bernardo Corradi (L knee ACL tear); FW Eduardo Sebrango (L shoulder separation); QUESTIONABLE: DF Alessandro Nesta (R knee sprain); FW Sanna Nyassi (R hip flexor strain); MF Justin Mapp (L groin strain); PROBABLE: DF Zarek Valentin (L ankle sprain)
  • D.C. UNITED – OUT: MF Lance Rozeboom (L knee ACL tear); DF Robbie Russell (L plantar fasciitis); DF Daniel Woolard (concussion-like symptoms); DOUBTFUL: FW Maicon Santos (R toe soreness); QUESTIONABLE: MF Lewis Neal (L adductor strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: MTL: Nelson Rivas (through Aug. 25); Hassoun Camara (through Sept. 2)
WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: MTL: Patrice Bernier
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: MTL: Bernardo Corradi, Sanna Nyassi, Collen Warner … DC: Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius, Dwayne De Rosario, Andy Najar, Dejan Jakovic, Lionard Pajoy, Bill Hamid

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Impact 0 wins, 1 goal … United 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 1

2012 (MLS)
4/18: DC 1, MTL 1 (Maicon Santos 73 – Corradi 69)
6/30: DC 3, MTL 0 (Pontius 46+; Russell 50; Salihi 91+)
• The teams are meeting for the third time, the first in Québec. Montréal’s Bernardo Corradi and United’s Maicon Santos traded goals in short order to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw April 18, then goals from Chris Pontius, Robbie Russell and Hamdi Salihi gave United a 3-0 victory June 30.
• Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. MTL: P2 W1 L0 T1 … Jesse Marsch vs. DC: P2 W0 L1 T1

LAST MEETING (MLS)
• United opened the lead in first-half stoppage time. After picking the ball up inside the Impact half, Chris Pontius raced toward goal, turning a defender before thumping a left-footed shot inside the back post.
• The lead was doubled five minutes into the second half. Branko Boskovic whipped a left-footed free kick from the right into the heart of the penalty area that Robbie Russell headed past a helpless Evan Bush in the Impact goal.
• United completed the scoreline in second-half stoppage time, when Hamdi Salihi smashed home a rebound from a saved Nick DeLeon shot from close range.
• D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Bill Hamid - Robbie Russell, Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard - Andy Najar, Perry Kitchen, Chris Pontius - Branko Boskovic (Lewis Neal 60) - Dwayne De Rosario (Nick DeLeon 75), Maicon Santos (Hamdi Salihi 79).
• MONTREAL IMPACT (4-4-1-1): Evan Bush - Calum Mallace (Jeb Brovsky 46), Zarek Valentin, Shavar Thomas, Tyson Wahl - Davy Arnaud, Felipe Martins (Marco Di Vaio 46), Collen Warner (Hassoun Camara 68), Justin Mapp - Sinisa Ubiparipovic - Sanna Nyassi.