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Montreal, RSL hope to inch closer to first place

10:52 AM, May 10, 2013   |    comments
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Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Two of the top clubs in their respective conferences will square off at the Stade Saputo on Saturday as the Montreal Impact play host to Real Salt Lake.

Both sides come into the weekend on 17 points following their midweek league tilts. The Impact suffered a 2-1 defeat at Red Bull New York to slip to second place in the East while Real Salt Lake's 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution lifted the Claret and Cobalt to sole possession of second place in the Western Conference.

Wednesday's match at Red Bull Arena, as well as Sporting Kansas City's 1-0 loss at Seattle Sounders FC, helped break a four-way tie atop the Eastern Conference table. It was the second consecutive match that the Impact conceded two goals following the club's 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium last weekend.

"It's just playing on the road, two good teams, goals happen," said Justin Mapp. "It's a team effort; our defense has been very good this year. It's part of football, sometimes you got to tip your hat to the other team but hopefully we'll rebound on Saturday."

The Impact can look to Marco Di Vaio to help the club rebound against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. The Italian striker was held out of Montreal's starting lineup against New York in order to keep him fresh during a span of three games in eight days, but he displayed his prowess in front of net by grabbing a late goal to make for a nervy finish at Red Bull Arena.

"Marco, he can't play (Wednesday) 90 minutes and again on Saturday," said Montreal head coach Marco Schallibaum. "That's my opinion and I think it's also the opinion of the players, we spoke yesterday together and they understand it. You see it also, when he comes (into the game) he has more power but I think ... Marco is a very important player but I can't play him 90 minutes every time, that's very difficult for him physically."

Real Salt Lake will look to goalkeeper Nick Rimando to try and keep Di Vaio off the scoresheet.

Rimando played a starring role in Salt Lake's victory at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, preserving three points for his side by saving a Saer Sene penalty kick in stoppage time.

"Nick is probably playing the best that I've ever seen him play," said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. "Says a lot for his age and where he's at in his career. But, he's looking incredibly confident right now and incredibly positive and he's been a huge contributor to every result we've had."

The Sports Network

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