Impact at Red Bulls: Five to Watch
The Impact, with only one win in its last seven Major League Soccer games (1-4-2), will be in for a tough test Saturday night in New York against the Red Bulls, who are unbeaten in their last 12 (5-0-7). Here are four players and one coach to watch:
Ignacio Piatti: The 31-year-old midfielder from Argentina is the Impact’s leading goal-scorer with 14, but has only one goal in his last six games and two in his last nine. “He’s scored goals this year,” coach Mauro Biello said. “I think with a little bit of luck, he finishes those chances that he had the (last game).”
Patrice Bernier: The Impact captain is 37 and has been used sparingly this season, making the starting 11 only nine times and getting into 16 games total. But the Impact is unbeaten in the nine games he started (3-0-6) and scored 19 goals during those games. He could provide a much-needed spark if he gets another start.
Bradley Wright-Phillips: The 31-year-old Red Bulls forward from England is the leading goal-scorer in MLS with 20, including five winners. He is on a six-game scoring streak, during which he has found the back of the net eight times. He is the only player in MLS history to have two 20-goal seasons.
Sacha Kljestan: While Wright-Phillips leads the MLS in goals, Kljestan leads the league in assists with 16, making for a deadly one-two punch. The 31-year-old central midfielder from California is a designated player with the Red Bulls and is part of the U.S. national team. He also spent five years playing in Belgium for Anderlecht.
Jesse Marsch: The Red Bulls coach was the first coach for the Impact in MLS, but was fired after only one season when he had a 12-16-6 record. Impact owner Joey Saputo said there were “philosophical differences” with Marsch when he was fired. Last season with New York, the American was named the MLS Coach of the Year after the Red Bulls won the Supporters’ Shield as regular-season champions and advanced to the Eastern Conference final.