Rapids-Impact Preview

MATT BEARDMORE (STATS Writer)
The Associated Press

Montreal Impact Marco Schallibaum said he knew his team would bounce back from a rare loss.

Colorado Rapids coach Oscar Pareja can only hope his side can rebound from three straight defeats.

The Eastern Conference-leading Impact will try to extend their home unbeaten streak to a club-record eight games Saturday night when the Rapids make their first visit to Montreal.

After its three-match winning streak ended with a 2-0 loss at Columbus on June 15, Montreal (9-3-2) defeated Houston by the same score four days later with Felipe Martins and Marco Di Vaio - tied for the MLS lead with 10 goals - finding the back of the net in the opening 32 minutes.

"I'm with the team for six months now and I know the team has the skill and will to play well," Schallibaum, who returned from a one-game suspension, told the team's official website.

Montreal holds a four-point lead in the conference despite playing at least two fewer games than each of the next four teams in the standings.

The Impact have earned 19 of 21 possible points at Stade Saputo and are one of three MLS clubs without a home loss.

That doesn't bode well for a Colorado side riding its longest losing streak since a franchise record-tying 0-6-0 stretch from July 4-28.

The Rapids (5-7-5) complete their three-match stretch outside Commerce City following a 3-0 loss to Portland on Sunday.

"We're not thinking about any crisis here. It's just another opportunity to keep battling and keep growing as a team," Pareja told the Rapids' official website.

That could be difficult, though, with Montreal netting 12 goals in a four-game home winning streak. Di Vaio, the MLS leader with 27 shots on goal, will face a Colorado defense that's surrendered nine goals during an 0-3-1 skid this month. The Rapids yielded three in a 5-1-2 stretch that preceded that.

"As a leader of the defense, I'm frustrated with it, but we got to try and put it behind us because it doesn't get any easier from here for us," said captain Drew Moor, who scored in Colorado's first match against Montreal - a 3-2 victory May 26, 2012.

Clint Irwin should be in net for Colorado, but goalkeeper Matt Pickens has returned to full training this week and said he's "a hundred percent" after suffering a broken arm March 16.

Impact captain Davy Arnaud has been sidelined since suffering a concussion in the second leg of the Canadian Championship on May 1, but he could return after playing in a reserve league game this week.