Bruce Arena And Thierry Henry Square Off Knowing Defeat Spells End Of Mediocre Season
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The latest meeting between the Montreal Impact and the New England Revolution will carry the highest stakes yet when the Revolution host the Impact on Friday in a winner-take-all MLS Cup Playoffs play-in game.
Due to the pandemic-influenced nature of the 2020 MLS schedule, the Impact and Revolution played four times at four different venues during the regular season. The Revolution went 3-1-0, winning each of the past three meetings.
"We know what it takes to beat this team, but now there's a little bit more on the line. ... We've got to make sure that we're physically right and in a good mental place when we head into the game," New England goalkeeper Matt Turner said.
During a recent interview on TSN 690 radio in Montreal, Impact head coach Thierry Henry noted that his team's roster was undermanned due to injuries and other absences in two of those losses.
"But, they managed to beat us three times in a row. So we need to find a way to create a surprise because as you can see, we go in there being the underdog," Henry said.
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Montreal recorded a 3-2 comeback win over D.C. United on Decision Day to qualify for the postseason and grab the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference. In a contrast of momentum, eighth-seeded New England won just one of its final five (1-3-1) regular season games.
The Revolution's 3-1 victory over Montreal in Foxborough on Sept. 23 was one of just two victories for the Revs in 10 home games (2-3-5) this season.
The Impact will be without at least one key player in Samuel Piette, who is serving a red-card suspension. Victor Wanyama and Jukka Raitala are away on international duty and questionable to be back in time for Friday's game. An unidentified New England player tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, putting his availability for the game in question.
Friday will mark the first-ever postseason meeting between the two teams. The Impact are in the playoffs for the first time since 2016. The Revolution are in the playoffs for the second consecutive year, but they haven't won a postseason game since 2014.