The Seattle Sounders visit the Montreal Impact on Wednesday (4:30 p.m. PT; JOEtv, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, EL REY 1360 AM) in Week 15 MLS action. Here are three matchups to watch, presented by Toyota.
Harry Shipp vs. Daniel Kinumbe
The Montreal Impact will be without potentially four First Team defenders on Wednesday, as Zachary Brault-Gillard, Daniel Lovitz and Jukka Raitala all received call-ups to their respective national teams while Bacary Sagna exited the Impact’s 3-0 loss to Orlando City in the 36th minute due to injury. Lovitz, who broke into the U.S. Men’s National Team picture last year, has played every minute for the Impact this season, leaving the team in a bit of a scramble to find a replacement.
Enter 20-year-old Homegrown defender Daniel Kinumbe.
The attacking left back has yet to play a single minute in MLS, but he has made the bench in three of the Impact’s last five fixtures. If he does take the pitch for Remi Garde on Wednesday, he’ll have a steep learning curve as he squares off against MLS veteran Harry Shipp. A cerebral midfielder who thrives on finding pockets of space and pulling defenders out of position, Shipp’s veteran savvy should be on full display in Montreal.
Handwalla Bwana vs. Rudy Camacho
In another matchup of youthful exuberance vs. season experience, Bwana will take on Impact defender Rudy Camacho. Normally a center back, the injury to Sagna and the Canada call-up for Brault-Gillard could lead to Camacho lining up on the flanks. Even if he does occupy his preferred position at the heart of Montreal’s back line, he’ll have to take on Bwana several times throughout the match, as the tricky winger likes to start out wide before cutting inside and wreaking havoc in Zone 14.
A ball-playing center back that likes to initiate the attack, Camacho has struggled defensively in 2019, registering zero tackles and two interceptions in his last two starts. That’ll have to change on Wednesday when he tries to nullify Bwana, who thrives in 1-v-1 scenarios. Look for Bwana to dribble at Camacho early and often, forcing the experienced defender to make a play or risk ceding dangerous spaces in front of goal.
Nouhou vs. Omar Browne
Nouhou should be in line for his third start of the 2019 MLS regular season on Wednesday, as Brad Smith has been called-up to Australia's national team. Still only 21 years old, the left back has 3,316 MLS minutes under his belt, and that’s not counting the 2016 season, when he spent the entire year with the organization developing in the USL. Few teams have young prospects at left back as talented as Nouhou, and even fewer are as experienced.
The Cameroonian defender will have a tough task in Montreal, with inverted right winger Omar Browne lining up opposite him. Browne, 25, has picked up six successful dribbles, two key passes and one goal in his last three outings for the Impact. He’ll have a difficult time impacting the match on Wednesday, though, as Nouhou’s relentless defending makes him a nightmare in 1-v-1 matchups. Moreover, if Nouhou can get forward on the overlap, he’ll help Bwana create numerical overloads against a player playing out of position.