Minnesota United finished nineteenth in their first MLS season and this time around them will be hoping to show a marked improvement under the guidance of Adrian Heath. The start Montreal Impact have made to the current MLS campaign suggests they will be in for another tough season after ending last year in seventeenth. Both teams are perhaps performing as expected so far, but that doesn’t mean both wont be disappointed as the MLS’s no relegation rule means that progression is key to keeping the fans happy. As things stand both teams look like they might not have a strong enough defence nor a good enough attack to challenge for a top half finish in their respective Conference, though Piatti has started the season in good form for Montreal.
Montreal Impact we’re playing the role of hosts when these two sides met for the first time in the MLS back in September. A ninth minute Bernier strike thrust Montreal into the lead and shortly after the hosts were awarded a penalty only for Piatti to squander his chance to double the home sides lead. Minnesota United were then awarded a penalty kick of their own in the twentieth minute and Molino insured the the two teams would head into the half time break on level terms as he finished coolly from 12-yards. The home side restored their lead just ten minutes after the restart, Džemaili converting a fifty-fifth minute spot kick to make it 2-1. However, that lead lasted just five minutes as Ramírez struck on the hour mark to bring Minnesota United level. With half an hour to go this game felt like it would produce a winning goal and that proved to be the case when with just one minute left on the clock Danladi won the game for the visitors in dramatic style and left the Montreal Impact fans wondering what might have been if Piatti had converted his first half penalty.
Neither side can claim to be in good form ahead of their weekend clash, but with two wins, one draw, and three defeats from their last six matches its the hosts Minnesota United who claim the title of form favourites. Montreal have been on a very poor run in recent weeks, picking up one win and suffering five defeats from their last six games. With both sides going three games without a win we’re expecting this match to be very tight and tense, which could lead to little goalmouth action. Three of both sides last six results have produced under 2.5 goals, and while the pair have only met once in the MLS, four of their seven encounters overall have also seen under 2.5 goals scored. Visitors Montreal Impact are particularly struggling in front of goal, with each of their last three matches seeing the Canadians fail to score a single goal.
Minnesota look like they might struggle to score enough goals to challenge for a top half finish this season, with Quintero their current top scorer with just three goals to his name. Piatti will be keen to make up for his missed penalty when the pair last locked horns, and the Argentine has started the season in decent form with five MLS goals to his name.
We’re confident that this game will feature under 2.5 goals as both sides have been struggling in recent weeks and don’t possess the most potent of attacks. We’re backing this game to end goalless and believe both sides would be satisfied with a point, more so Montreal who could end a three game losing streak on Sunday.
Minnesota United Predicted Lineup: Shuttleworth, Thiesson, Boxall, Calvo, Miller, Schüller, Gómez, Ibarra, Martin, Quintero, Ramírez.
Montreal Impact Predicted Lineup: Bush, Raitala, Duvall, Piatti, Donadel, Taïder, Petrasso, Piette, Edwards, Krolicki, Silva.
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These two teams have met seven times before, and with 4 wins and 3 defeats its Minnesota United that edge the head to head record. Minnesota United and Montreal Impact met for the first time in the MLS last year, and it was Minnesota who won the game by three goals to two.
Cronin, Molino, Finlay, Burch, Lampson, and Ibson are all expected to miss Sunday’s game through injury, while there are also doubts over the fitness of Tyrone Mears.
Diallo, Fisher, Cabrera, and Choiniere are all rated as highly doubtful to make the trip to Minnesota.