After less than stellar CCL performances, Montreal and Houston fight for the opportunity to run the table in the East.
Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference has a bottleneck at the top. Houston, in the last playoff spot, is just three points out of first place. And while three of the teams in the top five have played 25 games this season, Montreal and Houston have played just 23. The team that wins this meeting will have the opportunity to take control of the top spot and keep it.
Historically, Montreal has a slight edge over Houston. The Impact have won two of the four league meetings, with one going to the Dynamo and one draw. In the one previous meeting between the two teams this season, Montreal won 2-0 on goals from Felipe Martins and Marco Di Vaio.
Di Vaio has been especially important to the Impact this season. The 37-year-old has put himself firmly in the Golden Boot race, scoring 13 goals in MLS, a full third of Montreal's total of 36.
While Will Bruin has been a solid offensive contributor in Texas, scoring half a dozen goals and adding as many assists, it's a stingy back line which has kept the Dynamo in the playoff hunt. The league's best defensive unit (tied with New England) is led by goalkeeper Tally Hall, and the Orange have given up just 23 goals.
Both of these sides were involved in CONCACAF Champions League play on Tuesday. Montreal lost 1-0 away to Guatemalan side Heredia on a late goal after playing the second half with 10 men, while Houston played out a scoreless draw in Trinidad with W Connection.