East contenders square off as Houston travels to Montreal
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - The Houston Dynamo is starting to hit its stride at the right time, and the club will come up against another Eastern Conference contender on Saturday at the Saputo Stadium in the Montreal Impact.
Houston has won four of its last six games to move to within three points of the top spot in a crowded Eastern Conference, while Montreal sits two points clear of the Dynamo and will be eyeing first place for itself.
The Dynamo is coming off of a 3-1 win over Seattle last weekend, and just as important as the three points is the fact that both Will Bruin and Giles Barnes appear to have rediscovered their scoring touch.
Barnes scored a first-half brace against the Sounders last weekend to snap a three-and-a-half-month drought, and he believes it was simply the result of hard work.
"It's always nice to get on the score sheet, but first and foremost your confidence comes from playing well with the team and working hard with the team," Barnes said. "If you work hard you'll get your rewards and hopefully that's what I'm doing. I'm working hard and hopefully the rewards will come."
Bruin is another player who has worked his way through a slump to begin contributing again.
The forward endured a seven-game scoreless streak prior to the Gold Cup with the United States, but he has returned from that experience to score two goals with two assists in the past three matches.
Both teams will be coming off of midweek games in the CONCACAF Champions League with Houston earning a 0-0 draw against W Connection in Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, while the Impact suffered a 1-0 defeat on Wednesday to Heredia.
Montreal snapped a two-match losing skid last weekend by topping D.C. United, 2-1, but the club also lost head coach Marco Schallibaum for the next two games.
Schallibaum received a two-match suspension on Friday from the league after he was ejected from the United game for the third time this season.
The suspension means that the coach will not be on the sidelines for the Houston game or next weekend's match at Philadelphia.
"I made a mistake," Schallibaum told reporters on Monday after being ejected. "I also told my team that I should be an example in many respects - I'm the leader of this team after all - and that I did something that wasn't right. I was punished and went off earlier than the others. I take full responsibility."
Like Houston, Montreal also got one of its top scorers back on track recently as Marco Di Vaio scored both goals in the Impact's win over D.C., his first goals since July 3.
08/23 18:07:51 ET