The Montreal Impact will be mad keen to bounce back to some semblance of form when they take on struggling Columbus Crew this Saturday.
Crew are in a miserable run of form having lost their last five on the trot, and in winning only once since early April have slid way down the standings. Stranger things have happened, but a Play-off spot this season looks beyond them.
Goalscoring has been a problem, their only goal in those five recent defeats coming from the penalty spot in a 1-2 loss at home to Seattle Sounders.
But reinforcements have arrived back in the shape of Jonathan Mensah (away with Ghana at AFCON), and the US Gold Cup pair, Will Trapp and Gyasi Zardes. Zardes in particular should help the mis-firing attack.
Definitely not facing the Impact will be Zack Steffen, off to a new career with Manchester City. The Premier League Champions paid the largest ever fee (undisclosed) for an MLS goalkeeper in securing the 24 year-old’s signature. He didn’t have much time to find bearings in the North-West of England however, before promptly being sent on loan to Fortuna Dusseldorf in the German Bundesliga.
Another familiar and difficult opponent in this fixture is Federico Higuan, however the Argentinian play-maker injured a knee at Colorado Rapids in late May and is not expected to play for the rest of this season after undergoing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.
The Crew has a game prior to meeting the Impact at the weekend, when they travel to Bridgeview on Wednesday to take on Chicago.
Montreal will wait on Samuel Piette of whom little news has emerged following his abdominal injury last Saturday evening, and Ignacio Piatti. Nacho has progressed faster than expected, but this may be a weekend too soon to see him return to action.
There’s a few more of the Impact’s direct rivals in action this midweek, and the Montrealers will be hoping for favours from Houston at Atlanta (unlikely), Vancouver at New England (a little bit less unlikely), Red Bulls at Toronto (possible), Cincinnati at home to DC United (you never know with home advantage) and Portland at home to Orlando (the Timbers should prevail).