MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact seems to have a sense of renewed enthusiasm in recent days that translated into a solid performance on the road in Vancouver last Wednesday. IMFC looks to carry over this energy to Sunday as the Houston Dynamo visits Stade Saputo at 7:30pm EDT.
“The break and the World Cup brought us a lot of energy. The good result on Wednesday helped re-establish that confidence in winning and solidifies some of those relationships on the field,” said team captain Patrice Bernier. “We have to do everything to try and make it hard for other teams and give our all to get as many points as possible.”
The Dynamo (5-9-2, 17pts) is one of the teams the Impact is chasing, sitting in 7th spot in the Eastern Conference and the bleu-blanc-noir (2-7-5, 11pts – 10th) can make up some ground with two games in hand.
“The MLS season is long and we need to find consistency,” said head coach Frank Klopas. “Wednesday was a good start and with games in hand, we can close the gap.”
The timing may be right for the Impact to establish some momentum as they have dominated the Orange at home since joining MLS, going undefeated in three matchups and outscoring the Texas team 11 to 2. One of those games was a 5-0 drubbing last season on Multicultural Day at Stade Saputo.
Houston has been in poor form as of late, losing its last four MLS regular season games by shutout by a combined score of 10-0 and losing 3-2 its midweek contest to FC Dallas and was eliminated in the US Open Cup.
In addition, the Orange will also be without Brad Davis on World Cup duty and the status of Boniek Garcia, recently eliminated in Brazil with Honduras, is not confirmed. Ricardo Clark is also sidelined, recovering from a concussion, while rookie Mark Sherrod endured a season-ending ACL injury last month.
With a few injuries on his own roster to deal with, Klopas has leaned on some of his younger players lately and is satisfied with their performances.
“I believe in the young players we have,” explained Klopas. “They have played some minutes for us this year and have some experience now, playing with more confidence. For sure, there are moments in a game where they will make mistakes, but with more play comes more consistency. We feel we can count on them.”
· The Impact’s next game is on Saturday, July 5, at 10:30pm (EDT) in Los Angeles against Chivas USA.
· This is the second of three regular season games between these teams in 2014. In the first game, the Impact lost 1-0 on March 15 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
· Striker Marco Di Vaio has registered three goals and one assist in five career games against the Dynamo.
· Midfielder Felipe has recorded two goals and four assists in six career games against Houston.
· Houston young Designated Player Alex Lopez started his team’s last three games across all competitions, the first three of his career.