Impact-Rapids Preview

The Associated Press

The Colorado Rapids are having trouble finding the back of the net, particularly in the first half.

The Montreal Impact have felt the void of being without their top scoring threat.

Both teams have reason to believe improvement could come Sunday night in Colorado as Marco Di Vaio returns for Montreal, a club that has provided the Rapids with plenty of offensive chances in the previous two meetings.

Di Vaio, third in the league in 2013 with 20 goals, figures to return after missing the last two matches with a hamstring injury.

"I think I'm ready to go," Di Vaio told the club's official website Wednesday. "I trained yesterday, alone at first and then with the team, and today I took part in the whole session. I feel good after the injury. I can go."

The Impact (1-5-4) have scored an MLS-low eight goals in 10 matches, which has led to a league-worst seven points.

Colorado (4-4-3) can't be entirely displeased with its start to the season, though a lack of offense has weighed it down on a three-match winless streak. The Rapids have scored four times in the last six matches, and of their 12 goals this season, they've managed one in the first half.

Coach Pablo Mastroeni says his young team is still cultivating an identity and learning to communicate effectively.

"The communication part ... I feel is the most critical piece in soccer," Mastroeni told the league's official website. "The places of disconnect are still unfamiliarity with not knowing exactly who we are. We're working towards who we are, but not completely can see the big picture yet."

The Rapids are 2-0 all-time against Montreal with seven goals scored, most recently winning 4-3 on June 29. Their injury issues could derail that trend.

Vicente Sanchez, Colorado's top scorer with five goals in five matches, remains two weeks away from returning from a sprained left knee that has cost him the last three matches.

The Rapids will also be without forward Gabriel Torres, who was shut down for their three-match homestand in order to focus on muscle strengthening.

Defenders Marc Burch (hamstring) and Gale Abgossoumonde (abdomen) and midfielder Nathan Sturgis (foot) are all listed as doubtful.

They will have midfielder Jose Mari back after missing last Saturday's 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake with flu-like symptoms.

The Rapids fell behind 2-0 before Drew Moor scored in the 83rd minute and went on to lose consecutive games for the first time this season.

Montreal is coming off a 1-1 draw at D.C. last Saturday. Jack McInerney scored in the 56th minute, his second goal in four starts since being acquired from Philadelphia on April 4, but the Impact couldn't make the lead stand.

They'll now try to score more than a goal for just the third time this season.

"Having Marco back will definitely help the team," said coach Mauro Biello, whose club has lost once in Di Vaio's five starts. "We have a good record with him in the lineup. Now with Jack scoring goals, Marco coming back and Justin Mapp's consistency, we have a number of options offensively, including the addition of Issey (Nakajima-Farran)."

Nakajima-Farran could make his Impact debut after being acquired from Toronto FC on May 16.

Montreal center back Matteo Ferrari will miss a third straight game with a calf injury.