United-Impact Preview

The Associated Press

Having doubled its win total from a season ago, D.C. United has itself in position to head into the World Cup break atop the Eastern Conference.

While a draw would get it to 23 points to match New England, the club will be after three points Wednesday night against a Montreal Impact squad seeking its first back-to-back league wins of the season.

Many MLS clubs will have a considerable respite as eyes turn to Brazil, but United has a U.S. Open Cup match at Rochester a week after the trip to Montreal before resuming league play June 28.

"We don't really have a break," Olsen said. "We have to turn around and go to Montreal, which is a very tough place to play, on Wednesday. Hopefully we can get something out of that and then exhale for a second."

United (6-4-4) hasn't been caught taking any such breathers defensively with two goals conceded and three clean sheets in its last four matches after Saturday's scoreless home draw with Columbus.

Forward Fabian Espindola missed a stoppage-time penalty to cement D.C. being shut out for the first time in 12 matches.

Like much of the league has in recent weeks, it expects to feature an unfamiliar starting 11 against the Impact. Forward Eddie Johnson could be among those sidelined after leaving the Columbus match in the 58th minute with an apparent injury. The club hasn't updated his status.

"You see a lot of second teams, new guys in lineups, games back to back to back," assistant coach Chad Ashton told the club's official website. "Teams are tested with their depth; we're not different. We have to roll out some fresh guys Wednesday that didn't play tonight."

The Impact (2-6-4) have assumed United's 2013 position at the bottom of the East standings, though a 2-0 home win over New England on May 31 might have cultivated some optimism. They followed the league win with a 1-0 home victory over Toronto in the Canadian Championship last Wednesday, claiming the title on a 2-1 aggregate to earn a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League.

"The players show commitment every day in training, but it's good to get results," coach Frank Klopas said. "We still have a long way to go so we can't relax yet. Of course, when we have a win like this we enjoy it, but then we have to go back to work because we have a lot to play for."

The Impact and United played to a 1-all draw in D.C. on May 17. Jack McInerney gave the Impact a lead in the 56th minute before Johnson evened the match in the 84th.

United has lost in both visits to Montreal, falling 2-1 on Aug. 17 behind two goals from Marco Di Vaio. The Impact's potent striker hasn't scored in four matches across all competitions since returning from injury on May 24.

Montreal's 11 goals rank last in MLS.

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