Both teams got off to a hot start to the season but lately both teams have cooled off.
FC Dallas Notes:
International duty. The last couple of months have been rough on FC Dallas, that we know. Part of it could be due to the players on international duty. Sure, a couple of them like Danny Garcia, Richard Sanchez and Kellyn Acosta were in a youth World Cup in Turkey but the bigger ones have been Blas Perez for Panama, Raul Fernandez with Peru and Je-Vaughn Watson with Jamaica. In total, these players have missed a combined 26 games this season, with 17 of that being youth players.
Unbeaten against the East. So far this season, Dallas has an unbeaten record against clubs from the other conference. Currently the team is 3-0-3 against Eastern Conference foes with a 1-0-2 record on the road.
Record in one-goal games. Dallas currently leads the league with a 6-1-0 record in one-goal games.
Montreal head coach Marco Schallibaum's team is in a bit of a transitional phase right now. They started the season out with so much promise, winning loads of games and looking like they weren't going to be a pushover. During that good start they went on to win the Amway Canadian Championship, which has earned them a birth in the CONCACAF Champions League for this fall.
But over the course of the last few weeks, things have slowed down for the Impact. Marco Di Vaio is still scoring but the defense is not as stiff as it once was. In their last six games they have given up 14 goals, which has nearly doubled their goals against numbers on the season (before this six game stretch they had only given up 15 goals).
One thing we do know is that Montreal will be without their best scorer in Di Vaio, which tames their attack just a bit. They do still have quality attackers in Felipe Martins, Patrice Bernier, Andrew Wenger and Daniele Paponi.
The Impact are a direct team in their approach to the game. Some would call it route one, others may call it long ball. Whatever the case may be, Montreal is a team that loves to play the ball down the middle of pitch. They're not a team that holds the ball for long stretches of the game as they typically work the ball up the field in short waves.
Montreal will have to get creative without Di Vaio in their attack. That means more of Martins on the ball in the midfield.
Goalkeeper: Troy Perkins; RB: Hassoun Camara, CB: Alessandro Nesta, Matteo Ferrari, LB: Jeb Brovsky; RM: Blake Smith; CM: Patrice Bernier, Felipe Martins; LM: Justin Mapp; FW: Daniele Paponi, Andrew Wenger
Keys to three points:
Spread them out. One thing Montreal does not do well is defend in space. Last week against New York, the Impact were shredded on the wings when New York played wide and in space. Not to mention, if you go at them with speed in space, it is a double threat. Just too bad Fabian Castillo is suspended with a yellow card accumulation for this one and Jackson may be out as well with his concussion issues. Both of their speeds would have been killer to have in this one.
Silence the crowd. In other words, go one early and don't let the near sell-out at Saputo Stadium get loud. Montreal has given up six goals in the first 15 minutes of games this season, along with another seven in the final 30 minutes of the first half. Put the pedal to the floor early and often in this one.
Pressure them in the back. One thing about their defense is true, they're a bunch of veterans. Which means they are skilled in some ways but when it comes to handling loads of pressure, they tend to buckle and fold. This group isn't getting any younger, so test them.
Both teams are on the slide at the moment, so this one could really go either way. Dallas hasn't been great on the road this season but the lack of Di Vaio is intriguing. He is their offense and really they haven't had a game to prove that they can score without him this season in my book. Not to mention he is a leader for them on and off the field so how they replace him there will be tough. I think a fair result is a draw but three points is certainly do able. I think Dallas needs to prove that the last couple of weeks have just been a rough patch and that they can score in a game here. I don't think the winless rut will end just yet until they prove to me that they can play a complete game but I do think they'll get a hard earned draw.
Dallas 1, Montreal 1
Feel free to add your score predictions below in the comments section.