Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of Eastern Conference rivals will tangle on Saturday as the Houston Dynamo host the Montreal Impact at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Saturday's encounter marks the first matchup between these sides since a feisty knockout-round playoff tilt last season which saw the Dynamo run out comfortable 3-0 winners, while the Impact self-destructed at the end and had several players sent off.
Montreal finished with eight men: Nelson Rivas was sent off for collecting two yellow cards and Andres Romero and Marco Di Vaio followed for their roles in a late fracas.
None of those players will be available for the Impact on Saturday.
Still, lingering memories of that game could motivate the Impact to come up with a stronger performance, according to Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall:
"I don't really think the way the game finished, the scuffle or whatever in the corner, I don't think that has anything to do with Saturday's game. It was for them the end of their season on a fairly bad night for them and emotions got the better of them so that happens in games, especially in playoff games," said Hall.
"I think the fact that we knocked them out, not so much the fight in the corner, will be probably extra motivation for them. It would be for us."
Houston comes into the match riding a wave of momentum after opening its season last week with a comfortable 4-0 thrashing of the New England Revolution.
Will Bruin opened the scoring after just 64 seconds and completed a brace in the 13th minute before setting up Boniek Garcia to put the Dynamo 3-0 ahead before the half-hour mark.
New England created some opportunities in the second half, but Houston put the game away with a goal from Omar Cummings in stoppage time to complete the rout.
Montreal, meanwhile, is coming off a 3-2 loss to FC Dallas in its season opener at Toyota Stadium last weekend.
The Impact opened the scoring 10 minutes in through Sanna Nyassi, but Dallas roared back with three straight goals from Fabian Castillo, Blas Perez and Mauro Diaz. Andrew Wenger pulled Montreal within one in the 65th minute, but it wasn't enough as FC Dallas claimed the points.
"It's hard to win when we give three goals as tonight," Impact head coach Frank Klopas said. "I think we could have avoided some goals conceded during this game. We will watch the video, correct some things and be ready for the next game Saturday in Houston. We worked by creating opportunities early in the game and we could have taken the lead by more than one goal."