Players to watch: Wenger set to start in Houston
The Montreal Impact is in a do or die matchup this Saturday versus the Houston Dynamo, where anything less than a win will eliminate the club from playoff contention. Don’t forget the team is also fighting for the top spot for the 2013 Amway Canadian Championship.
In addition to the importance of the game, you may want to keep a particular eye on a few key players in this matchup.
WATCH: Wenger opens the scoring vs PHI
The Impact’s first overall SuperDraft pick is set to make his first start since a 2-0 home win over the Philadelphia Union back on August 4. The Duke graduate has started just four games this season, mostly due to scholastic commitments that had kept him out of the lineup early on, making 20 appearances overall in his rookie year. Of his four goals scored this season, he has scored three of them as a starter. And the team is 3-1-0 when he scores.
The Impact goalkeeper has earned three shutouts in just six starts (3-2-1) with his new team since coming over from the Portland Timbers. Perkins three shutouts have him tied with Ricketts for the team lead with former Impact keeper Donovan Ricketts, who accomplished the same feat in 24 games. Perkins had only three shutouts in 22 games with the Timbers.
Marco Di Vaio
Prior to the 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City on September 22, Impact Designated Player Marco Di Vaio had scored a goal in four consecutive games, good for the second longest goal scoring streak in MLS this season. He is not picky about where he scores as two of the four goals over that streak were netted on the road.
The French defender has missed some time due to an injury and suspension this season, but the 2011 Team MVP is the only player to have started more than 10 games this season to have a winning record when in the starting Xl. The team has gone 8-6-2 when he stands at centre field for the singing of the national anthems. He is also one of only two defenders to have scored a goal this season.
The former Italian international moves back to his role as a central defender - one he is most comfortable with – from wing back now that Nelson Rivas has been shut down for the rest of the season due to knee surgery. In his last seven games, the team has won three times and tied once in four games where he played at centre back, while as a wingback, the club has gone 1-2-0 in three games.