Montreal aims to win in Houston for first time (Jul 05, 2017)

BY AP • July 4, 2017

Houston has never lost to the Montreal Impact at home, and the Dynamo will need plenty of help from their ancillary players to keep that streak alive when the sides meet on Wednesday at BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown Houston.

The Dynamo, one of MLS' top home teams this season, will be without three key starters when they face Montreal for the 11th time in history and the sixth time in the Bayou City.

Wingers Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis and midfielder Boniek Garcia are with the Honduras national team for the next two weeks as it prepares for and plays in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will be held in the United States from Friday through July 26.

On Monday, the Dynamo announced that Erick Torres, their leading scorer who is second in MLS with 12 goals this year, will join the Mexican national team for the tournament as well. However, Torres' departure won't come until after the Wednesday match against the Impact.

Houston returns home after another road loss, this one a 3-1 setback at Colorado on Saturday in which Torres scored the Dynamo's lone goal.

The Dynamo (7-7-4) are unbeaten as home this year in league play, going 7-0-2 on their own pitch. However, Houston did fall 2-0 at home to Sporting Kansas City in round-of-16 play in the U.S. Open Cup on June 28.

Will that defeat affect the Dynamo's swagger in their own stadium? Houston coach Wilmer Cabrera said losing at home certainly had an impact on his team's defeat in Colorado, especially in the club's lack of defense.

"We had the worst day defensively," Cabrera said. "Colorado scored too easy on us -- they flicked the ball. We didn't win the second ball, and we didn't stop the players. It made us look really bad. It's not about anything else but we have to do a better job.

"They attacked four times and scored three goals. We let them go through too easily. I hope that's the worst game we have defensively. My responsibility now is to work harder."

The Impact (5-5-6) head to Houston on the heels of a 2-0 victory over D.C. United on Saturday in Montreal that snapped a three-match winless streak and allowed them to move out of the cellar of the Eastern Conference standings.

Impact midfielder Blerim Dzemaili scored a goal in the 21st minute against D.C United and added an assist on a tally by defender Chris Duvall two minutes.

"We have a much better team that we've shown," Dzemaili said. "Everybody has to do more. Everybody has to take more of the game in the hand and do something more. We did that in the win over D.C. United, and we have to do it also in Houston on Wednesday."

Impact coach Mauro Biello was also encouraged by his team's defending in its win over D.C. United.

"D.C. had a lot of chances, but not a lot were on target," Biello said. "We were able to stop a lot of their attacks. Our defensive transition could have been better, but that's understandable when you're tired, when you don't have the legs. But those were three points we needed."

Like Houston, the Impact will be without a handful of players who are away for duty in the Gold Cup, with forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel, midfielder Patrice Bernier and backup goalkeeper Maxime Crepaeu all part of the Canadian national team. Also, playmaker Ignacio Piatti is questionable for the match against Houston due to a groin strain.

This has been an evenly matched series, with five victories for each side and one draw in 11 matchups. The home team has never lost, with Houston holding a 5-0-1 advantage on its own ground. Montreal hasn't won on the road since beating D.C. United 1-0 on May 6.

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