Dynamo-Impact Preview

The Associated Press

The Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Impact weren't sharp after an extended break.

The Houston Dynamo hope something similar won't occur in their first MLS action in more than two weeks.

Montreal will try to avoid its first set of back-to-back losses of 2013 on Wednesday night when it hosts the Dynamo.

Playing for the first time since a 2-1 victory at Sporting Kansas City on June 1, the Impact (8-3-2) surrendered two goals in the opening 22 minutes of Saturday's 2-0 loss at Columbus that ended their three-game winning streak.

"Credit them, they came out hard and caught us flat-footed," defender Jeb Brovsky told the Impact's official website. "We have to look at ourselves individually and then as a whole and we have to go back to the drawing board. We are at the top of the table and we can't come out like that."

The Impact, though, still have three games in hand and a one-point edge over second-place New York in the East.

At 5-0-1 at Stade Saputo, Montreal is the only club in the conference - and one of three in MLS (FC Dallas and Vancouver) - without a home loss.

The Impact matched a season high for goals in Houston's only previous visit, a 4-2 victory June 23. It was also the most goals allowed by the Dynamo in 2012.

Houston (6-4-4), four points behind Montreal, is back in town as it finishes off a stretch of three straight on the road. The Dynamo played to 1-all draws against Kansas City on May 26 and the Crew on June 1.

Houston has played since those contests - losing 3-0 at FC Dallas last Wednesday in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup - but the team's long layoff from league action could be seen as "good and bad," according to midfielder Corey Ashe.

"It helps guys who've been out and need time, but at the same time, you kind of lose that flow," he told the Dynamo's official website. "It's been a long two weeks, but it's been a good two weeks of training though and I think we'll be good to go."

Captain Brad Davis and fellow midfielder Boniek Garcia are away on World Cup qualifying duty for the United States and Honduras, respectively, but striker Omar Cummings could see his first MLS action in two months after appearing as a substitute late in the FC Dallas match. He's been slowed with a knee surgery.

"You can tell he's been anxious to play and I thought his ten minutes tonight showed you what kind of a threat he can be. Hopefully this is a good sign of him getting more minutes on the field," coach Dominic Kinnear said.

Defender Bobby Boswell, who scored in a 3-0 win over Montreal on July 21, will return for the Dynamo following a two-game suspension, while Impact defender Alessandro Nesta is back after serving a one-game suspension for his actions in the win over Sporting KC.

Montreal coach Marco Schallibaum was also handed a one-match ban for his conduct, but he'll return after assistant Mauro Biello was on the touchline Saturday.

These clubs played to a 1-all draw in their last match Oct. 6.