Things are about to get heated in Texas.
The Montreal Impact visit the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night, just a few short months after the Texas side dominated the Quebecers in the 2013 MLS playoffs. That match ended in a silly exchange that saw several Montreal players get ejected, and it forced the exit of fiery Swiss coach Marco Schallibaum.
Both teams have remained largely unchanged since that volatile night last October, so you can be sure that there is still some lingering bad blood waiting to surface.
Unfortunately for the Impact, they are still feeling the effects of that game as talismanic striker Marco Di Vaio is set to serve the second of a three-game ban stemming from his actions in that match. The Italian's absence leaves a massive hole in Montreal's attack, one that will need to be filled by the likes of Andrew Wenger.
Wenger did an admirable job as the lone striker for Montreal last week in Dallas, scoring once and getting himself into threatening positions all night long. The Impact will need more of that from the 23-year-old if they are going to stand any chance against the Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Houston is fresh off a 4-0 dismantling of New England in which the Texans looked formidable from the opening whistle. Target striker Will Bruin proved a handful for the Revolution and scored a brace, although he rightfully could have had four or five with a bot more fortuitous finishing.
The fragile Montreal back line will be in for a long night if it can't stop Bruin from wreaking havoc in front of Troy Perkins' goal.
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- Houston Dynamo
- Montreal Impact