MLS

Dynamo-Impact Preview

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The Houston Dynamo occupy fifth place in the Eastern Conference but they'll likely have to improve their play away from home to remain in the playoff picture.

The Dynamo start a three-game road stretch Saturday night against the Montreal Impact, owners of the East's best home record.

Houston (10-7-6) has helped itself stay among the conference's top five teams by going 4-1-1 in its last six games, but the Dynamo are 1-3-2 in their last six away from home. Among their results over that stretch was a 2-0 defeat in Montreal on June 19.

"Every point is going to matter. That's what we've seen," forward Will Bruin said. "The last few years the separation between the teams that make the playoffs and the ones that don't is one or two points. The goal is to get maximum points every game."

Houston, which owns a three-point edge over sixth-place New England, is seeking its first win in three visits to Stade Saputo. The Dynamo have been outscored 6-2 in their previous two trips.

"They're a talented team. They have a lot of quality players," Houston defender Kofi Sarkodie said. "We have to make sure we do our best to keep them quiet and put our pressure on the match as soon as possible."

The Dynamo were able to get off to a fast start in last Saturday's 3-1 win over Seattle, with Giles Barnes scoring two goals in the first 21 minutes. Bruin had a goal and an assist for the second time in three games.

Montreal's Marco Di Vaio will try to build on his two-goal performance in last Saturday's 2-1 win over D.C. United. The Impact's designated player, who's third in the league with 13 goals, snapped a season-worst, five-game goal drought in league play.

The victory ended Montreal's only losing streak this season and helped it moved into a tie for third place in the East with Philadelphia. The Impact also improved to 8-1-3 at home.

"I'm very happy because I play to score and when I don't score, I'm not happy because I'm not helping the team," Di Vaio said. "The team needs goals from me and they got it today in an important game after two losses. It was important for our morale."

Di Vaio scored the final goal during the win over Houston in June, the only matchup between the clubs this season.

Both teams head into this game after playing midweek CONCACAF Champions League matches on the road. Montreal lost 1-0 to Guatemalan squad CD Heredia on Wednesday, and Houston played to a scoreless draw against W Connection in Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday.

New Dynamo designated player Alexander Lopez made his debut in that tie and could see his first MLS action Saturday.

The Impact won't have coach Marco Schallibaum on the sidelines for the next two games after he was thrown out of last week's victory. He has been tossed from three games this season.



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