United-Impact Preview

The Associated Press

The Montreal Impact had little time to prepare for their last matchup with D.C. United.

This time, it's United that will be on short rest for this critical Eastern Conference contest.

Montreal will try to extend its season-high winning streak to five and move within one point of visiting D.C. for the final East playoff spot when the clubs meet Saturday.

The Impact (11-13-3) endured a three-game losing streak June 27-July 4, with the middle game of that slide being a 3-0 loss at RFK Stadium that dropped the expansion club 15 points back of D.C. That defeat came three days after a 3-0 loss to lowly Toronto FC.

Thanks to its four straight wins, though, Montreal has gone 6-2-0 since that skid and has been off since its fifth consecutive home victory last Saturday, 3-1 over MLS-leading San Jose.

In contrast, United (12-8-4) will be playing for the third time in seven days after defeating Chicago 4-2 on Wednesday.

"It's a quick turnover. Its probably only fitting since we caught Montreal in the same way here," coach Ben Olsen told D.C.'s official website."They will want to get a little payback from that. We'll play the best group that we have and fight it out up in Canada."

That could be a tough fight for D.C., outscored 10-3 during its season-high four-game road losing streak. United, which played to a 1-all draw with Montreal on April 18, last dropped five in a row away from home March 29-May 21, 2008.

"We know our road record hasn't been the best, and we have time to improve that," said reigning MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario, tied for the league lead with 11 assists.

Though the Impact can put have worked their way into the playoff conversation, they have only seven games remaining while all the teams in front of them have at least two games in hand - D.C. has three.

"You can't help but look at the standings and hope that other teams help you out a little," Montreal leading scorer Patrice Bernier told the team's official website. "But at the end of the day, the only thing we can control is the way we play, so we have to take it one game at a time. Now, our priority is to get a good result against D.C. United on Saturday."

United's defense could be tested by an Impact club that's outscored opponents 9-2 during its winning streak.

D.C., second in the East with 43 goals, is hoping it's back in gear offensively after matching a season high for goals Wednesday. The club totaled three scores in its previous five games.

De Rosario is one goal shy of becoming the seventh in league history to reach 100 after finding the back of the net against the Fire.

"My focus right now is wins and if I have to score to help my team win, so be it," he said.

Former D.C. goalkeeper Troy Perkins may get his first look at United in an Impact jersey. Acquired from Portland on Aug. 7, Perkins has stopped five of six shots in two wins.