Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Impact Travel to New York Looking for First Three-Game Winning Streak of Season

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Impact Travel to New York Looking for First Three-Game Winning Streak of Season

Article excerpt

Impact try for rare three-game winning streak

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MONTREAL - The Montreal Impact head into a match with the New York Red Bulls in a position to string together their first three-game winning streak of the season, and it's thanks largely to the finishing of striker Marco Di Vaio.

After Montreal blew an early two-goal lead against El Salvador's C.D. FAS on Wednesday, Di Vaio scored from the penalty spot in the 60th minute to send his team home with a six-point cushion atop their CONCACAF Champions League group -- a group that incidentally contains the Red Bulls.

Last week in Major League Soccer action, Frank Klopas' men downed the Chicago Fire 1-0 at home on a late winner by Di Vaio -- a victory that ended Montreal's seven-game losing skid in the league.

"We've won two games in a row, so we're happy," Di Vaio told reporters in El Salvador following Montreal's 3-2 win on Wednesday. "We're going to play against New York with confidence."

A win against the Red Bulls in New York on Saturday would allow the Impact to check off several firsts off their list. Montreal is the only team that has yet to register a road win this season. The club's last MLS win away from Saputo Stadium dates back to Sept. 8, 2013.

What's more, the Impact have never beaten New York on the road in three tries in club history. And the team has not recorded back-to-back victories in MLS in exactly one year.

As a result, Montreal (4-14-5) is at the bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference standings, where the team has dwelled since the beginning of April.

Assistant coach Mauro Biello, however, believes the tides are turning.

"Obviously, we've had a difficult season in the championship up until now," said Biello from Central America on Wednesday. "We're coming off a win against Chicago, and a big win in El Salvador. Hopefully we can continue to grow and get a few more."

Although the last-place Impact's post-season hopes are virtually dead and gone -- the team is 11 points out of a playoff spot with 11 games remaining -- Montreal could get a big boost from a New York scheduling conundrum.

The Red Bulls open their own Champions League campaign against FAS on Tuesday, three days after welcoming the Impact to Red Bull Arena. If manager Mike Petke decides to split his focus between MLS and the CCL, the Impact could face a slightly weaker Red Bulls lineup on Saturday.

"It's two completely different competitions," Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush told reporters after Wednesday's victory in San Salvador. "You saw it last year when we were chasing the playoffs. We had to balance our team a little bit differently in those games. (The Red Bulls) are in a position where they're still fighting for a playoff spot, and we'll see what kind of team they put on against us."

Petke will have a tough decision to make precisely because New York (6-7-10) is in the midst of a very tight playoff race. …

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