Impact-Whitecaps FC Preview

The Vancouver Whitecaps are hoping the MLS break during the first part of the World Cup won't affect them as they try to continue their longest unbeaten run in franchise history.

The Montreal Impact will come to town short-handed and saddled with the league's worst record.

The Whitecaps are seeking to remain unbeaten for an eighth straight game and have taken both previous MLS matchups with the woeful Impact heading into Wednesday night's contest.

No league match has been played since June 11, and Vancouver last played four days earlier with a 3-3 draw at Philadelphia that pushed its unbeaten run to 3-0-4.

"We're looking forward to playing," defender Andy O'Brien said. "It's been a heckuva long time since we played against Philadelphia and we're pleased to be at home and looking forward to the game."

Vancouver (5-2-6) has totaled 17 goals during the unbeaten stretch with seven in its last two games. Pedro Morales has converted three penalty kicks in his last two games while Erik Hurtado has scored in four straight.

The Whitecaps won the first MLS meeting between these teams 2-0 two years ago and won 3-0 on Sept. 21.

A similar scoreline wouldn't be surprising since Montreal (2-7-4) has 10 points in 13 matches for the league's worst average with a minus-13 goal differential that is tied with Houston for the worst mark in MLS.

Vancouver is saying the right things about how difficult this contest will be.

"It's going to be a tough game," coach Carl Robinson told the club's official website. "They're a very good team. They have very good individual players. The results maybe don't tell the whole story, but individually player for player they have a fantastic squad."

Montreal travels across the country without some key players. Midfielder Justin Mapp, who has a team-high four assists, is out with a groin injury. Forward Marco Di Vaio and midfielder Calum Mallace also won't play, while midfielder Felipe could miss the contest to be with his pregnant wife.

The Impact are conceding 2.0 goals per game for the league's worst ratio.

"One thing is for sure, we have to improve defensively," embattled first-year coach Frank Klopas told the Impact's official website. "It's going to be difficult giving up two goals or more per game to win. We know we can score goals, but we have to be better defensively as a group."

Vancouver will be without captain Jay DeMerit, out for six weeks with a torn tendon in his left ankle. O'Brien will be in central defense with either Jhonny Leveron, Carlyle Mitchell or Christian Dean.

Defense is a major concern for the Whitecaps as well since they have given up eight goals in their last three matches.

"It's about finding the right balance because we've conceded too many goals this year," Robinson said. "I know we have."

Montreal is 0-8-3 in its last 11 on the road, getting outscored 14-5 in going 0-4-2 this year. The Impact fell 4-2 at home to D.C. United on June 11 in their last match.

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