D.C. United versus Montreal Impact preview: Teams both young and old

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

In which we talk to Sofiane Benzaza in the lead-up to this Saturday's game between Montreal and D.C.

With D.C. United welcoming the Montreal Impact to town, we got in touch with Sofiane Benzaza of Mount Royal Soccer to preview the game. Below are the questions and the answers

Questions for Mount Royal Soccer

B&RU: Joey Saputo came out this week and said that big changes were coming for the Montreal Impact; any idea as to what those might be?

MRS: Well the club just traded Collen Warner to Toronto FC for Issey Nakajima-Farran. That was a first move but Sporting Director, Nick de Santis, assured that this move was for the club and not a consequence of Saputo's tweet. But I wrote earlier this week, among three options, making changes within the squad was the easiest way to solve some of the Impact's problems.

Problems within the squad are deeper but hopefully this will give us a taste of things to come.

B&RU: Right now, the Impact are both very young and very old. Which of the young players do you think could come good and be a standout MLS player?

MRS: Karl W. Ouimette is a young central defender that has the physical maturity to be a regular MLS player. He has technical qualities that are underrated. He has matured quickly as he only played a handful of games and the club must continue to believe in him and that includes Frank Klopas. Both need to bite the bullet and let Ouimette play, make mistakes and learn.

B&RU: With the Impact's victory last night in the semi-final of the Voyageurs Cup, are you excited or scared of the prospect of possible playing in the Concacaf Champions League this fall?

MRS: Yes and yes. The CCL is a trap for the Impact unless the club actually decides to rotate the squad properly and accept defeat if it plays its young players and those that are coming off the bench in MLS. The club needs to be clear in its objectives in the CCL and follow through. Playing Toronto FC in the Voyageurs Cup final will not permit Klopas to rest his players and Joey Saputo will make sure to remind him.

Injuries: Di Vaio , Ferrari (both DTD), Rivas and Lopez (practicing but not ready to play)

Predicted XI: Perkins ; Brovsky, Camara,Ouimette,Tissot - Bernier, Bernardello, Felipe, Mapp, Nyassi - McInerney

Score prediction: 2-1 Impact

Questions for Black and Red United

MRS: How is the Impact's first MLS captain doing? Has Davy Arnaud brought more than just leadership?

B&RU: Davy Arnaud started the first few games on the season as a wide midfielder, and suffice it to see that we as fans were not impressed by his play there. However, an injury to Luis Silva moved Arnaud into central midfield, where he has been a good partner for Perry Kitchen and has kept Silva on the bench even though he is now healthy. He provides more defensive play than Silva can, but also gets into the attack (and scores some goals) in a way that Perry Kitchen has yet to be able to do. So overall, D.C. United fans are happy with Davy so far, merci.

MRS: D.C. United overhauled its squad during the off-season. Would you say that the transition has gone well? Have you learned more about Ben Olsen as a head coach?

B&RU: After the first two games, D.C. United fans were very nervous. However, since then the team has put together a respectable set of results, and so we are more confident in the transition thus far. The biggest knock on Olsen has been his perceived lack of tactical prowess, and an over-reliance on what his detractors would call "grit." To address this, Olsen brought in two new assistants this offseason in Enzo Concina, who played 10 games for the APSL Montreal Impact and was rumored to be a candidate to replace Jesse Marsch, and Amos Magee, a former Portland Timbers assistant and head coach of their U-23 team. These two have much more experience than Josh Wolff, who left to take a job with the Columbus Crew this offseason.


MRS: Many veterans came in to surround younger players at DC. Which veteran-young player duo has been the most effective?

B&RU: The midfield combinations of Perry Kitchen and Davy Arnaud in central midfield and Chris Rolfe and Nick DeLeon on the wings have been the most effective. Rolfe is a kind of player that D.C. United hasn't had recently, and his creativity and goalscoring has already been a gamechanger for the team (especially with Chris Pontius out indefinitely); when he has been healthy, a newly re-energized Nick DeLeon has been causing problems of his own from the right wing.

Injuries: Chris Pontius (out indefinetly), Sean Franklin (questionable), Nick DeLeon (questionable).

Predicted XI: Bill Hamid; Chris Korb, Bobby Boswell, Jeff Parke, Cristian Fernandez; Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Chris Rolfe; Fabian Espindola, Eddie Johnson

Score prediction: 2-0 D.C. United

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