Houston Dynamo vs. Montreal Impact
Wednesday, July 5, 2017, 7:30 p.m. CT
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
KUBE 57 – 7:00 p.m. (CHANNEL LISTINGS)
650 AM/Radio.com app – 7:00 p.m.
Univision Radio 1010 AM – 7:00 p.m.
The Houston Dynamo, already missing three key starters for CONCACAF Gold Cup duty, thankfully will not be down a fourth (for the same reason) when they host the Montreal Impact on Wednesday in the last match for either club before MLS breaks for the continental tournament.
Striker Erick "Cubo" Torres, second in MLS with 12 goals this year after going scoreless in 2016, was not called into Mexico's camp earlier this month, though he was on the preliminary roster. But with Alan Pulido sidelined by a broken arm sustained in a weekend friendly against Paraguay and Torres being the only healthy forward eligible for selection to replace him, Torres got the call from El Tri.
However, he won't leave to join Mexico until after Wednesday night's match, leaving wingers Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis and midfielder Boniek Garcia, all of whom were called in by Honduras, on the list of international absences who will miss the game for the Dynamo.
Will Houston have enough in the tank against Montreal -- who also, it should be noted, have their own absences to deal with -- to stay unbeaten at home in MLS play and bounce back from Saturday's 3-1 loss at Colorado, in which Torres scored their only goal?
Despite being a fortress in MLS contests, BBVA Stadium has seen the Dynamo lose this season – in their most recent home outing, when a reserve-heavy side was bounced from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City in the Round of 16.
Manager Wilmer Cabrera praised his young side – both his own players and those called up from USL affiliate Rio Grande Valley FC – for their effort against a starter-laden Sporting lineup. Will Cabrera have enough depth up top this time out to manage a scoring threat against the Impact, though?
If they can generate shots on goal, the Dynamo just might pull it off. Montreal have given up 26 goals this season, tied for fourth-most in the 11-team Eastern Conference. But with all their absences in the attacking corps, that's still a big "if" for Houston.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: Boniek Garcia (Honduras), Alberth Elis (Honduras), Romell Quioto (Honduras)
- Injury Report: OUT – D George Malki (ACL injury), M Eric Alexander
Projected Starting XI (4-4-2, right to left): Tyler Deric – AJ DeLaGarza, Adolfo Machado, Leonardo, Jalil Anibaba – Alex, Juan David Cabezas, Ricardo Clark, Memo Rodriguez – Andrew Wenger, Mauro Manotas
Montreal don't exactly roll into Houston loaded, either, and the Impact have had difficulty winning away this season.
The Impact will be without forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel, midfielder Patrice Bernier and backup goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau for Wednesday's match, and they haven't taken three points on the road since beating D.C. United 1-0 on May 6. Also, playmaker Ignacio Piatti is still questionable with a groin strain.
That said, Montreal are coming off a 2-0 victory over D.C. which snapped a three-match winless streak -- and Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla is among the league's young up-and-comers in an attacking role.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: GK Maxime Crepeau (Canada), Patrice Bernier (Canada), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Canada)
- Injury Report: OUT – D Ambroise Oyongo (right knee surgery); D Daniel Lovitz (undisclosed injury) M Louis; QUESTIONABLE: M Ignacio Piatti (groin)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Evan Bush – Hassoun Camara, Laurent Ciman, Kyle Fisher, Chris Duvall – Hernan Bernardello, Marco Donadel – Dominic Oduro, Blerim Dzemaili, Ballou Tabla - Matteo Mancosu
This is an evenly-matched series, with five victories for each side and one draw. The home team has never lost, with Houston holding a 5-0-1 advantage on their own ground.
- Overall: Houston 5 wins, 14 goals; Montreal 5 wins, 18 goals; 1 draw
- In Houston: Houston 5 wins, 12 goals; Montreal 0 wins, 3 goals; 1 draw