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INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT: Previewing New York City vs. Montreal Impact

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Jason Kreis's sky blues will celebrate America's Jour de l’Indépendance in Quebec, where the Impact hope to make up for their 3-1 loss in the Bronx three weeks ago.

This is the last thing you see before he turns green and busts through his clothes.
This is the last thing you see before he turns green and busts through his clothes.
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

What's more patriotic than going on the road and defeating a bunch of foreigners on this most hallowed of days?

I'll wait.

OK, to be fair, I thought of three things that are more patriotic than that:

  1. Black-and-white photos of Clint Eastwood.
  2. The KFC Double Down sandwich.
  3. The Bear Jew.
That's it, though. That's the three. So, here is where we find ourselves, still rather perplexed by a New York City team smarting from a demoralizing derby thrashing at the hands of MLS's only authentic New Jersey franchise. The Red Bulls gashed their hosts with repeated attacking runs down the left (that is, NYC's right) over the course of a second half that left the sky blues looking hapless. Blathering. Basket case-y.

Montreal, who stand 1-1-1 since falling in the Bronx on June 13th, will have every opportunity to deliver a mortal blow in front of a home crowd-- their attacking trio of striker Jack McInerney, winger Andres Romero, and number 10 Ignacio Piatti have combined for 11 goals in 14 league games, and face a New York City back line positively wracked by injuries.

First-choice left back Chris Wingert came off in the first half of last weekend's Hudson River Derby, and is questionable tonight with a quad bruise. Center back stalwart Jason Hernandez didn't make the trip with the team as he nurses a calf injury. That puts more pressure on famously limited right back R.J. Allen, whom the Red Bulls love to abuse on the attack, and Shay Facey, who isn't old enough to drink in America.

(To be fair, Facey gave Piatti fits every time the Argentine attempted to pinch into the eighteen-yard box from the outside. Unfortunately, that probably makes Lil' Shay a marked man now.)

Javier Calle, Jeb Brovsky, and *gasp* the tragic study that is Kwame Watson-Siriboe could all be called upon today. All hands will be needed on deck, but will all the hands on this team be enough?

Something tells me that Tommy McNamara, who occasionally leads the team in defensive clearances despite lining up in central midfield, will be called upon again to clean things up now and again.

Questions remain beyond the back line alone: with Ned Grabavoy hobbled and Mix Diskerud away on Gold Cup duty with Team USA, the midfield will shuffle yet again. Fans will be clamoring for Kwadwo Poku to start in Mix's place, and Khiry Shelton should be healthy enough to make the rotation as well.

Does Jason Kreis have enough bodies to win this one? Sure.

But it will take an effort far crispier than the stale bag of chips that was last week's effort.

...

Anyone else hungry?

INJURED & ABSENT

Montreal:

OUT: Hassoun Camara (knee), Eric Miller (hamstring), Justin Mapp (elbow surgery), Carmeron Porter (knee surgery), Kenny Cooper (knee surgery)

SUSPENDED: Patrice Bernier (red card)

NTERNATIONAL DUTY: Maxim Tissot (Candada)

New York City:

OUT: Connor Brandt (adductor strain)

QUESTIONABLE: Ned Grabavoy (fractured toe), Jason Hernandez (calf soreness), Chris Wingert (quad contusion)

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Mix Diskerud (USA! USA! USA!)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Montreal:

New York City:

RUNNIN' THE NUMBERS

  • 21: Jason Hernandez is reportedly offering up his no. 21 shirt to Andrea Pirlo upon the Italian legend's presumed arrival later this month. For his part, Andoni Iraola will wear no. 51, as his normal 15 is currently occupied by a well-known mulleted warrior poet named Thomas McNamara.
  • 2: Yellow cards last week for Impact captain Patrice Bernier, who was sent off and stands ineligible tonight. Montreal later took the lead with ten men, but ended up drawing against Philadelphia 2-2.
  • 48,047: Attendance at Yankee Stadium for last weekend's Hudson River Derby, the current record for NYCFC. Their average home attendance ranks third in MLS this year.
  • -4: Both teams sport a goal difference of -4 on the year. Montreal has 19 for and 23 against, while New York City have scored 18 and allowed 22.
  • 4-0-0: Montreal's record when leading at the half this season. When scoring first, each team has lost just once, with New York City experiencing their first such incident last weekend against the Red Bulls.

ON THIS FOURTH DAY OF JULY, A NOTE ABOUT "INDEPENDENCE"

It's funny-- on the day of independence in the land in which free markets are the closest thing we have to god besides Kanye West, we find ourselves discussing MLS.

Major League Soccer, of course, is the exact opposite of a free market. Its franchises -- not clubs, franchises -- are the exact opposite of independent. Why an allocation order? Why all the new made-up rules every time a big-name player wants to join the league? What the hell is a soccer league doing ankle-weighting itself with a salary cap? Why not behave more like, say, every single other legitimate top division in the world? Let all the investors in. Throw out all the arbitrary micro-level regulations. And watch the league's level of play enter a novel phase of evolution.

But that won't happen. No way, not as things stand.

Let's be clear: when it comes to making a name for itself on the world's stage, MLS's delusional, tone-deaf governance is just about as un-American as marmite on toast. There are no Horatio Alger stories in MLS, no coming-of-age picaresques. America loves a scrappy upstart that takes on the big boys and fights for its place on the top of the mountain-- structurally, MLS cannot allow anything of the sort. It's a closed-off, pay-to-play experiment with built-in limitations.

#OccupyMLS! I would say that we should "give it back to the people," but the fans have never really been allowed any ownership, legal or emotional, over their teams. Your favorite team is a McDonalds franchise that MLS has allowed the local ownership to operate day-to-day. But everything -- it's logo, it's brand, the players on the roster -- is all held by MLS.

Come on, you Sons of Liberty.

FINALLY, SOME CANADIAN-AMERICAN DIPLOMACY