Key matchups: Impact vs Crew

Players to watch in Sunday's game

Dominic Oduro Columbus Crew

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USA Today

The Montreal Impact and the Columbus Crew have some similarities when it comes to the 2013 season.

Both made significant additions to their rosters mid to late season in 2012 (Marco Di Vaio and Alessandro Nesta for the Impact, Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta for the Crew). Both have brought in solid complimentary pieces to their rosters to start the year (Andrea Pisanu and Andres Romero in Montreal, Dominic Oduro and Brazilian defender Glauber) and both have had a pretty good start to the campaign with just one loss in five games.

So the key to this game might very well be matchups.

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Keys for Columbus

Dominic Oduro’s speed will be a factor. One of the fastest players in MLS, the former Chicago Fire man has caused havoc with his speed as a forward, or as a winger. It will be key that the Impact have an answer to either option for the Crew.

Impact defender Alessandro Nesta could return to the lineup following an adductor injury. He will need to use his experience and positioning to keep Oduro at bay if the Ghanaian plays as the point man. His partner, Matteo Ferrari, may be even more important in this case, as he’s played all five of the Impact’s games this season.

READ: Bernier reveals what has made Impact so lethal thus far into 2013

Crew midfielder Federico Higuain is extremely dangerous from distance. With David Beckham gone from MLS, he may just be the best at set pieces in the entire league. The Impact cannot afford to commit fouls near the box.

Impact advantage

Former Impact defender Tyson Wahl has become a full-time defender with the Crew this season, starting all five of the team’s matchups this season. Although extremely tall and aggressive along the backline, his lack of mobility could play into Di Vaio’s favour as the Impact DP looks to walk the offside line and find the holes to get in behind the Crew defence.

READ: 5 reasons why you shouldn't miss Saturday's game

With the matchup set as the first of the year at Stade Saputo, the 12th player will also be key for the home team, coming out to support their side in what might be less than ideal conditions. That kind of support will definitely help propel their Impact to a solid performance and hopefully keep the team in first place in the Eastern Conference.

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