RBNY welcomes Montreal to RBA
Harrison, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Red Bull New York will be hoping to take advantage of the Montreal Impact's heavy fixture list in recent weeks when the two sides meet at Red Bull Arena on Saturday.
Montreal already has completed five matches across all competitions in the month of August, dwarfing New York's total of two.
The Impact enter Saturday's clash with three wins from their last four games in all competitions, though to of the victories came against El Salvador's FAS in CONCACAF Champions League play.
New York and Montreal have been drawn into the same Champions League group, but with the Red Bulls yet to feature in the competition, Saturday's league clash will act as a prelude to their meetings in the intercontinental tournament.
One major difference between the two sides, however, is the separation between them in the Eastern Conference table.
Montreal remains rooted to the foot of the table with 17 points, eight points adrift of ninth place. New York, meanwhile, is very much in the playoff hunt, entering the weekend in fifth place with 28 points.
The gulf between the two clubs means that the respective head coaches can alter their squad selections accordingly.
"I mean, it's two completely different competitions," Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush told reporters on Wednesday night after Montreal's 3-2 win in El Salvador. "With the team that we put on and they put on in different competitions, it can be completely different. You saw it last year when we were chasing the playoffs still; we had to balance our team a little bit differently in those games. They're in a position where they're still fighting for a playoff spot, and we'll see what kind of team they put on not only against us, but against (FAS)."
Saturday's tilt with Montreal marks the beginning of New York's draining stretch of the season as the club will follow the match with a Champions League tie against FAS at Red Bull Arena on Tuesday.
In order to cope with the added fixtures, New York looks poised to introduce its two newest players to the fold. Striker Saer Sene and defender Damien Perrinelle have been deemed fit and ready to contribute by head coach Mike Petke.
"He's a professional soccer player, so if we needed him to play tomorrow I'm sure he could play," Petke said of Sene's fitness progress. "He just has to get acclimated both mentally and physically. As far as positional-wise, I look at him as a forward that can also have the option to play out wide.
"But we have not hit that stage yet ... we haven't really done much positional stuff as opposed to just playing possession and small-sided to goal. But moving on, we will look at him at both of those positions."
Sene joined New York in a trade with the New England Revolution, but Perrinelle's journey to MLS was a bit more complicated.
After impressing RBNY in a successful trial spell, Perrinelle's signing period was prolonged due to paperwork issues. But Petke has since said that the complications have been fixed and the Frenchman is ready to contribute.
"Damien's a player with a great attitude and a good physical presence," said Petke. "He's good with the ball at his feet, so he's looked fine.
"The interesting thing is that we have five center-backs, so it's definitely going to be a very competitive environment from that position standpoint throughout the week and every week into a game. But, as far as legally, he's available and ready to go."
08/22 14:08:55 ET