Montreal, QC – It could be said that FC Dallas' and the Montreal Impact's seasons have mirrored one another thus far.
After impressive starts to the MLS campaign saw both clubs top their respective conferences, a string of results passed with neither side tasting victory.
They will meet at the Stade Saputo on Saturday, with Dallas winless in its last seven and Montreal winless in its last four.
Dallas enters the match without a goal in its last three outings as it followed a scoreless draw with Chivas USA with a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy and a 3-0 home defeat to Real Salt Lake.
Despite the absence of an end product in the club's last outing, Fabian Castillo was one of the few bright spots for FC Dallas. The young striker caused Real Salt Lake a great deal of unpleasantness in defense but failed to convert any of his scoring opportunities to cap an otherwise fine performance.
"I felt it was a very difficult game," Castillo said through a translator after the match. "At the end, we lost three points at home. We got scored on three times that we shouldn't have been scored on any of those plays and at the end it doesn't matter how hard you work and the performance that you have on the field if you don't get the three points."
Montreal was also humbled in its last outing, suffering a 4-0 defeat at Red Bull New York.
The Impact fell behind by two goals and thought they had cut the deficit in half early in the second period, but Marco Di Vaio had his strike pulled back for an offside call. It would have helped turn the game in Montreal's favor, but instead, it spurred the Red Bulls on to go and claim two more goals to complete the rout.
"We must not panic," said Davy Arnaud. "There are tough times in a season. We must come back stronger in our next game. We are still in a great place in the standings, but we need to find a way to win and allow fewer goals."
The Impact remained on 31 points with the defeat, dropping the club out of first place in favor of Sporting Kansas City.
"This wasn't a good game tonight, but we played better in the second half with more character," Impact head coach Marco Schallibaum said after the loss to New York. "It's not easy being in first place and even more difficult to remain on top. We'll need to work and return to the basics."
Montreal can retake pole position in the East with a win over Dallas, at least until Sporting kicks off against Real Salt Lake later on Saturday.