Monday, February 21, 2011

Red Bulls Set To Make Impact In Montreal

Montreal Impact will become the 19th Major League Soccer team when they join the league next year. It seems they can't wait twelve months to get a piece of the action, however, as they've invited New York Red Bulls to Canada for a friendly match in three months time.

Hans Backe's side will face Impact on Wednesday May 11th at Saputo Stadium, scheduled for a 7:30pm kick off. The encounter is slotted nicely into a seven-day break from MLS action, taking place three days after the Red Bulls face LA Galaxy live on ESPN2, and three days prior to the visit of Chivas USA. While largely meaningless in a competitive sense, the friendly will keep the players fresh and allow Backe to tinker with his line-up.

It certainly says something for the growing status of New York Red Bulls that they have been hand-picked to be Montreal's first MLS experience. With fellow Canadian clubs available, as well as the reigning MLS Cup champions Colorado Rapids and the glitz and glamour of LA Galaxy and Beckham-mania, the appeal of Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez showcasing their Designated Player talents in Saputo Stadium was apparently too strong to ignore.

As well as the above-mentioned marquee names, Greg Sutton will no doubt receive a warm welcome from the Montreal crowd. The Red Bulls' number two goalkeeper played for Impact between 2001 and 2006. No doubt he will get the nod for the game, having once again served as back up to Bouna Coundoul all season.

Red Bull New York General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler explained why he accepted the invite. "Montreal is a truly cosmopolitan city with a great soccer fanbase and we are thrilled to help promote the Impact."

I'm sure he would welcome increased exposure for the Red Bulls in Canada, too. Especially considering the presence of Frenchman Henry, who will be the focus of many of those buying tickets in the French Canadian city.

Tickets for the exhibition match will go on sale on Thursday March 10th, with prices ranging from $20 to $50. If any New York Red Bulls fans are planning to be in Montreal at the time and considering attending, get in touch. We would appreciate a recap of the match, as there is no mention of televised coverage at this moment.

(Glenn Williams also runs Major League Soccer UK, a website aiming to spread the word of MLS to British football fans)
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