Right now the New York Red Bulls are in a good place at the top of the Eastern Conference, but at the same time they are leading the league in the Supporters Shield race as they are currently edging the Los Angeles Galaxy on the Points per Game tie breaker. This time however a big threat is coming towards them and it’s the Montreal Impact and their new Designated Player signing in former Chelsea & Ivory Coast Striker in Didier Drogba.
This man caused a major storm at the Montreal International Airport when he arrived and you saw many French Speaking Canadiens and Ivory Coast immigrants living in Montreal, Drogba has created a lot of noise and putting the Impact currently over that red line for a playoff spot in the standings.
“He’s obviously a handful, a world class player and always plays at a very high level.” Said Dax McCarty, “He’s a guy who is a difference maker and seen plenty of highlights from him making fantastic plays. We know what his strengths and weakness are & he’s changed the dynamic of that team.”
But when you want a real technical answer about how to play Drogba, you go straight to the coach and Jesse Marsch has an answer. “He’s such a physical presence and he is so smart and clever, it’s not a one man job as it is a team job. One of the keys is too keep him guessing where defenders are and not letting him know where they are as he likes to feel guys and hold them off. We also know he can slip a real clever ball. It will be a challenge on a team that is explosive and can counter, but we need to know where he will be in the box.”
A lot will be focused on Drogba but at the same time we also have to look at the other players around him that he has improved like Dilly Duka, Ignacio Piatti, and others as this side did make a big run in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League and became the first Canadian side to reach the final. Even though Frank Klopas was fired after Drogba was signed by the club this side has looked dangerous and improved.
But looking at the current Supporters Shield race that the 2015 Red Bulls are on, some are looking at comparing what the 2013 side did when they won it with Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill and a few more who are still here like Bradley Wright-Phillips, Dax McCarty and Luis Robles. But the truth is simple in that it’s not the same type of situation.
Of course certain results are breaking the Red Bulls way like in 2013, but it’s a different side with a different presence as they have been using this press offense from start to finish and while the start wasn’t good in 2013 for Mike Petke’s side he did have two separate winning or unbeaten streaks that looked solid and gave them chances to convert & get positive results.
But overall this Impact team is a dangerous side that is still hunting for a playoff spot and with the addition of Drogba, they could surprise and leap frog a few sides. But once again this is where the games in hand need to pay off and stay not only top of the east, but to keep the top spot to win the regular season and hoping to earn their 2nd shield in three seasons.