As the MLS season draws to a close, the number of teams fighting for playoff spots is continuing to dwindle. On Saturday night, the New England Revolution will host a team on the fringe of postseason competition: the Montreal Impact. The Canadian club currently sit four points ahead of Orlando City for the last playoff spot in the Eastern conference and any dropped points could spell the end of their title push.
The main man for the Impact is their 37-year-old striker Didier Drogba. The Chelsea legend has shown no sign of his age since moving stateside, scoring nine goals through nine games. Even though he’s only been with the Impact since late August, Drogba has already become the team’s leading scorer. Few clubs have been able to keep the Ivorian from finding the back of the net, and in his last game against the Revs he scored once and assisted one more. Drogba is talented enough to win this game on his own, and if he’s in form again there’s little the Revs can do to win.
Away from home this season, Frank Klopas’ Impact has struggled mightily. Through 16 games this season, the Impact has won just three times while allowing 27 goals (1.7 goals/game). However, the last time Montreal travelled to Gillette Stadium they were able to battle for a 0-0 draw. That clean sheet was one of just two that Klopas’ squad has been able to claim through the season. A vital road victory against the Revs would provide the Impact with some much-needed momentum going into the final game of the regular season and possibly the playoffs.
Recent form hasn’t been too kind to the New England Revolution. In their last three games, Jay Heaps’ men have failed to win a single match, and have won just a solitary point. A point of weakness through all of those matches has been their normally stout defensive unit. During their last match against the Impact, the Revs struggled to a disappointing 3-0 defeat. The play of players like Andrew Farrell and Bobby Shuttleworth in the heart of defense will determine how the Revs handle Saturday’s fixture, and also play a major factor in their final playoff seeding.
One of the few bright spots for the U.S. National Team during their horrendous international break was midfielder Jermaine Jones. The Revs’ midfielder brings a certain energy and grit to the center of the park while helping on defense and attack. Saturday will probably end up being more of a test of his defensive abilities as he tries to limit the service Drogba can get from his midfielders. The experience and talent that the former Schalke man brings to the Revs could prove to be the difference in this crucial late season match.
In this important match, I think that Montreal’s poor away form will come back to haunt them as the Revs claim all three points. Only one team has been able to win away at Gillette this season and I don’t feel like Montreal can be the second. Final score: New England 1-0 Montreal