The Houston Dynamo travel north to face the Montreal Impact on Saturday evening (6:30 p.m., ROOT SPORTS Alt.), but both teams will be missing key contributors due to suspensions.
Dynamo midfielder Alex, one of the most consistent players in the squad this season, picked up his fifth yellow card last week against the San Jose Earthquakes and will serve a one-game suspension. On the other side, striker Didier Drogba received a red card in Montreal's last match, a 1-1 draw against D.C. United. Drogba leads the team with five assists and has eight goals as well.
Montreal (7-5-9, 30 points) occupies the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference. Midfielder Ignacio Piatti has been one of the best in MLS this season, with 12 goals and five assists. Replacing Drogba up top could be rookie forward Michael Salazar, who has two goals in 10 appearances, or new Italian signing Matteo Mancosu, who has a goal and an assist in just 52 minutes so far with the Impact.
“They’ve got a talented team. Obviously with Drogba missing, it changes their attack a little bit," Dynamo interim head coach Wade Barrett said. "They have (Matteo) Mancosu that’s come in, that looks like a very good player. Piatti is always someone you can’t lose sight of where he is. Harry Shipp has done a good job out wide. He kind of gets into those in-between spaces a little bit and asks some questions.
"Salazar has a ton of speed, and (Dominic) Oduro the same. They have good players that we have to pay attention to. But I always say that we have to pay attention to those things and prepare, but also have to focus on what we can do to affect the game.”