Preview: Impact ready for its first MLS playoff game this Thursday in Houston
Houston Dynamo – Montreal Impact
Thursday, October 31 – 8:30pm ET
BBVA Compass Stadium
Radio: CJAD 800
Mobile: illico mobile
Viewing party: Burgundy Lion (2496 Notre-Dame Ouest) and Irish Embassy (1234 Bishop)
HOUSTON, Texas – The Montreal Impact plays its first ever playoff game in MLS against the Houston Dynamo this Thursday night, at 8:30pm ET, at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas. The game will be broadcast live on RDS and TSN, as well as on the radio with CJAD 800. You can also get live updates using the Impact mobile app or by following @impactmontreal on twitter.
The Impact (14-13-7, 49 pts) finished the season as the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference and will play the 4th seed Dynamo (14-11-9, 51 pts) in the knockout round. The winner of Thursday’s matchup will host the New York Red Bulls on Sunday in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semi-final series.
Head to Burgundy Lion and Irish Embassy to watch Thursday's knockout game!
This is the fourth meeting between the two teams in 2013, following three regular season contests. In the first matchup on June 20, the Impact earned a fourth consecutive home victory at Stade Saputo, topping the Dynamo 2-0 on goals by Marco Di Vaio and Felipe. The Impact then shut out the Dynamo 5-0 at Stade Saputo on August 24, thanks in part to a brace by Di Vaio. In the last matchup, the Impact lost 1-0 to the Dynamo on October 4 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
DP Marco Di Vaio finished the 2013 campaign as the team’s leading scorer (3rd in MLS) with 20 goals, becoming just the 11th player in MLS history to hit the 20-goal mark. He also made his 50th career league appearance with the Impact in last weekend’s match versus TFC.
Midfielder Felipe became the first player in Impact history to surpass the 5,000 minutes played plateau over the last weekend of play in MLS.
Impact captain Davy Arnaud has played in 15 postseason games, scoring four goals and adding an assist, while fellow midfielder Justin Mapp has 14 appearances, totaling one goal and five assists.
Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins has started five postseason contests, going 1-2-2 over that span, registering a 1.00 goal against average and one shutout
Sanna Nyassi (6 GP) and Collen Warner (1GP) also have MLS playoff experience under their belts.
The Houston Dynamo clinched its 7th playoff berth in eight years of existence with a 2-1 win on Sunday, on the road, at D.C. United.
Giles Barnes (9G, 4A) and Will Bruin (8G, 7A) led the team in scoring in 2013, while Brad Davis, who chipped in with four goals of his own, topped the club with nine assists.
Goalkeeper Tally Hall played every minute of every single MLS regular season game in 2013, winning 14 games while posting nine shutouts.
Last season, the Dynamo made it all the way to the MLS Cup finals, after qualifying for the postseason as the 5th place team in the East. On its way, the Dynamo beat the Chicago Fire 2-1 in the knockout game, then defeated Sporting Kansas City 2-1 on aggregate, and eliminated D.C. United 4-2 on aggregate, before falling to the LA Galaxy 3-1 - marking its second straight MLS Cup finals appearance and second straight defeat to the Galaxy.
During its 2012 run to the finals, the Orange saw standout performances by forward Will Bruin, scoring four goals in six games played, to go along with solid performances by forward Calen Carr (1G, 2A) and midfielder Brad Davis (3A).
MLS Cup playoff format
The top five teams in each conference qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs, and those 10 teams will compete within their respective conference for a place in the final – MLS Cup 2013 on Dec. 7, hosted by the team with the most regular season points.
The fourth and fifth place teams in each conference play a single knockout game, the winner of which will advance to the Conference Semifinals and face the first place team in the conference. If the score is tied after 90 minutes of play, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary.
The four Conference Semifinals and two Conference Championships will be decided by a two-game aggregate series, with the lower seed hosting the first leg and the higher seed hosting the second leg. If the aggregate score is tied after 180 minutes of play, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary.
MLS Cup will be a single championship match hosted by the finalist with the most regular season points. If the two finalists have the same number of regular season points, the tiebreakers for playoff qualification will be applied to determine the host team.
Elsewhere in MLS
In the Western Conference knockout round game, the Seattle Sounders will host the Colorado Rapids tonight at 10:30pm ET.
If the Impact win in Houston, the first leg of the Eastern Conference semi-final game at Stade Saputo against the New York Red Bulls, would take place on Sunday, November 3 at 3:30pm (ET). Tickets are already on sale through admission.com or by calling 1-855-790-1245. If the Impact does not reach the Conference semi-final, clients who purchased tickets for this game will be reimbursed.