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  • Must-win games for the Impact...and the Railhawks


    The Impact are travelling to Atlanta for its last regular season game in 2nd division tomorrow night against the dead-last Silverbacks. A win would not necessarily put Montreal in the playoffs as they need the help of a rival in the Carolina Railhawks, who will be hosting Minnesota the same night.


    The Impact have enjoyed a somewhat regular training week and will be building on the good performances of the past weeks. They will need to improve their form on the road, after having dropped 4 points in their last 2 games in Fort Lauderdale and Puerto Rico. Had they won just one of those games, they probably have control over their destiny and not hope for another team to put them in the playoffs. Then again, we would also need to look at quite a few awful results this season.

    Coach/Technical director Nick De Santis will perhaps be going for a similar lineup and formation that won the last two home games against Carolina and Edmonton. The 4-4-1-1 has been working effectively, in which Sinisa Ubiparipovic has excelled, sitting just behind the lone striker. Coming on the wing, Ryan Pore, Di Lorenzo and/or Mignane Diouf have been quick to help the attack. Having missed last week’s game due to suspension, we may see Simon Gatti and perhaps captain Nevio Pizzolitto rejoin the starting formation. The Impact have conceded just 2 goals in their last 5 games, both coming in back-to-back road games.

    Last week’s Starting XI:


    Kreamalmayer - Knowles - Camara - Billy

    Di Lorenzo - Lowery - Westlake - Pore



    Minnesota are going in their game against Carolina full of confidence despite having only won one of their last 5. However, the Stars have yet to lose to the Railhawks this season (1 win, 2 ties). Carolina has been in a slump of their own, suffering three consecutive 1-0 losses. The team hasn’t really been showing the form that they had at the beginning of the season, but that can be explained by the fact that they won the league title with 4 games remaining in the season. Throughout the 28-game campaign, it's fair to say that the Railhawks have been in a different class.

    Here are the possible scenarios for Saturday night :

    • Montreal win, Minnesota win : Minnesota goes through with 36 points, Montreal stays in 7th with 35.

    • Montreal tie, Minnesota win or tie : Minnesota goes through with a minimum of 34 points (if tie, 36 if win). Montreal will have 33 points.

    • Montreal win, Minnesota tie or lose : Montreal will overtake 6th spot with 35 points, Minnesota will be on 33 points if they tie or remain at 32, if they lose.

    • Montreal tie, Minnesota lose : Both teams will have 33 points and seen as they are equal on the head-to-head as well (2 wins each in regular season), we’ll have to go to goal differential. Montreal goes through with +4, Minnesota has −3.

    • Montreal lose : Game over. Should Montreal lose, Minnesota will go through no matter the result they pick up in Cary, NC.

    This leaves the Impact faithful watching not one, but two mediocre streams on Saturday night. And this time, they'll have to cheer for two teams, including one that beat the Impact in last year's playoff return-leg semifinal.

    Oh, and one last thing. Should Montreal lose this game, they will still be joining the MLS next season.

    Atlanta Silverbacks - Impact Montreal (NASL Live 3) and Carolina Railhawks - NSC Minnesota Stars (NASL Live 2) will both be played at 7:00 pm on Saturday, September 24th.

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