The Columbus Crew and Montreal Impact are coming off very similar home defeats to the Eastern Conference’s top team.
The last-place Impact will be the better-rested club as they try to post their first road win Saturday night against a Crew club which is winless in its last seven contests.
Columbus (4-7-8) fell 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, allowing the winning goal in the 93rd minute. Coach Gregg Berhalter, though, wasn’t making excuses after a match in which both teams finished with 10 men.
"We’re not victims in this whole thing," he said. "The way we performed we didn’t deserve to win that game and it wasn’t a pretty soccer game all around."
Montreal (3-9-5) was victimized by the defending MLS Cup champions last Saturday by the same score, allowing a goal in the 89th minute when a mix-up by defender Heath Pearce and goalkeeper Troy Perkins led to Dom Dwyer’s winning goal.
The Impact also suffered a cruel defeat in their previous game, a 1-0 loss at Chivas USA on a goal in the 94th minute on July 5.
"You look at the last two games, it was the same thing," coach Frank Klopas said. "I don’t know how we find ways to lose games like this. It’s just sometimes breaks are not going our way right now."
Montreal has been outscored 6-1 in losing all three previous visits to Columbus. The Impact are the league’s worst road team with three draws and five defeats in eight games.
"Going there it’s not easy to be confident but we have many things this season that are still possible," striker Marco Di Vaio told reporters in French. "We need to look at ourselves, look at what we can do, look at Columbus also."
Confidence also figures to be in short supply for Columbus, which is on a 0-3-4 slide and seeks to avoid a second eight-match winless streak this year.
"I think that we need to get our confidence back as a group," Berhalter told the Crew’s official website. "You can see in the first half that guys weren’t confident."
Berhalter will be without Wil Trapp, who was sent off with a second yellow card in the 89th minute Wednesday.
The coach is also concerned about the Impact’s attacking tandem of Di Vaio and Jack McInerney, who have started together the last two games and have totaled nine goals for Montreal.
"They both move very well off the ball," Berhalter said. "When they’re both playing, you have to look out. There’s certainly some danger with movement. When they’re both not on the field, it lessens that and they become a little bit less dangerous."
The Crew’s major threat is Federico Higuain, who has six goals and five assists but none in either category in his last four games.
"We need to get that winning feeling back," defender Michael Parkhurst said. "We’ve lost that and when you’re stuck in a rut like this, things go bad and you don’t catch the breaks and we just need to turn that fortune around."