Montreal, QC – Red Bull New York will be looking to make it a clean sweep of the Montreal Impact this season when the two sides square off at the Stade Saputo on Saturday.
The Red Bulls thrashed the Impact in a 5-2 victory at Red Bull Arena in March before coming from behind to down the Canadian club 2-1 at the Olympic Stadium in May.
Now, New York will try to secure its third straight league victory by taking maximum points against Montreal this season, thereby maintaining its lead atop the Eastern Conference.
The Red Bulls are coming off of a 2-0 defeat of the Philadelphia Union, a match in which striker Kenny Cooper returned to form by bagging both tallies. They were his first goals since May 23.
"For strikers, there will be phases during a season where they don't score in six, seven, eight weeks," Backe told reporters after the match. "But everyone knows that strikers are on the pitch to score or set up goals and for the confidence, of course, the two headers [are important]."
Goalkeeper Bill Gaudette has enjoyed some superb form since joining the Red Bulls; the former Los Angeles Galaxy stopper has anchored some fine defensive play by keeping back-to-back clean sheets for his new club.
Gaudette could be in line for another clean sheet if Montreal struggles to create scoring opportunities like it has in its recent outings. The Impact have scored three goals in their last three games but have conceded six over that span.
Most recently, Montreal was humbled at BBVA Compass Stadium in a 3-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo, but Saturday's tilt with New York will mark the start of a spell of four games at home out of its next five.
"It's going to be huge for us," midfielder Lamar Neagle said. "We haven't really been able to get momentum going, like a four or five-game winning streak, this year, so hopefully, at home, we can take care or business pretty well."
The Impact have dropped more than half of their league games this season (13 losses in 23 games), but the club still sits just two spots shy of a place in the playoffs.
"At the moment we are not consistent," said defender Shavar Thomas. "In most of the games that we've lost, we were in it for 80-85 minutes and then we make a mistake or give up a bad goal. We're going to pull through. We're learning very quickly and in the end, it will come for us."