After claiming the Canadian championship earlier this week, the Montreal Impact are eager to keep their momentum going and string together another win.
The Impact will seek a third consecutive league victory Saturday night and extend short-handed Sporting Kansas City’s recent slump.
Montreal (7-2-2) is flying high since a 1-2-2 stretch in league play with eight goals scored in its past two games. The latest - a 5-3 win over Philadelphia last Saturday - featured a first-half hat trick from Marco Di Vaio, who is now tied for the league lead with nine goals.
The Impact followed with Wednesday’s 2-all tie against Vancouver that helped them win the Canadian title on a tiebreaker. Defender Hassoun Camara scored the equalizer in the 84th minute.
“We’re going step by step,” coach Marco Schallibaum told the league’s website. “We’re doing well in the league. We did well in the cup - especially with this win. We must not look too far ahead. Football can change quickly. We deserve what we earned, but we have to keep both feet on the ground.”
The next step is avenging a 2-0 road loss to Sporting Kansas City on March 30. That win sparked a three-game streak for Sporting KC (6-4-4), but it’s since gone 2-3-2 in league games.
Kansas City has scored a combined three goals in its past four contests and played to 1-all draws in each of its last two, the most recent against visiting Houston on Sunday. Kei Kamara had the tying goal in the 68th minute, his first since returning to the club on loan from Norwich City of the English Premier League.
“For me, I just worry about playing,” Kamara said. “I know when I’m out on the field I’m planning and chances are going to come.”
Kamara and Sporting KC won’t have as much depth for this game with four players off on international duty.
Reigning MLS defender of the year Matt Besler and Graham Zusi are with the United States national team. The club’s top draft pick Mikey Lopez, who made his team debut in a U.S. Open Cup win Tuesday, is with the U.S.’s Under-20 squad, and Soony Saad is with the Lebanese team for World Cup qualifiers.
Montreal is not expected to have midfielder Sanna Nyassi (Gambia) available.
The Impact will try to use that depth advantage to end a three-game winless stretch against Kansas City. Montreal is 0-2-1 in the series since a 2-0 win at Sporting Park on May 5, 2012, the first meeting between the clubs.
With a win and a New York loss Saturday, the Impact would regain sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference.