Houston (5-9-2) at Montreal (2-7-5), 7:30 p.m.
Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - Rested and rejuvenated from the World Cup break, the Montreal Impact and Houston Dynamo will return to MLS action on Sunday when the two sides meet at the Stade Saputo.
The break may have come at just the right time for both teams as neither side was in particularly good form.
Montreal entered the break having lost three of its last five, but it rebounded on Wednesday by getting a point from a scoreless draw at Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
"The break and the World Cup brought us a lot of energy," Impact captain Patrice Bernier told the club's official website. "The good result on Wednesday helped re-establish that confidence in winning and solidifies some of those relationships on the field. We have to do everything to try and make it hard for other teams and give our all to get as many points as possible."
The Impact have claimed just two wins this season to leave the club at the foot of the Eastern Conference table. But a win on Sunday would bring Frank Klopas' side to within three points of the Dynamo, a manageable deficit given that Montreal holds two games in hand.
"The MLS season is long and we need to find consistency," the Impact head coach told the club's official website. "Wednesday was a good start and with games in hand, we can close the gap."
Montreal will be hoping to get its first win over Houston since Aug. 24, 2013 when the Impact smashed the Dynamo, 5-0, behind a brace from Marco Di Vaio.
But Houston will be eager to come out on top as the Dynamo lost their last four MLS regular season matches, a run that has dropped them far off the pace of the Eastern Conference front-runners.
The Dynamo have been bitten by the injury bug in recent months and they are just starting to get some key players back into the swing of things.
Several players have resumed training after lengthy spells on the sidelines, including Ricardo Clark (concussion), Corey Ashe (MCL) and David Horst (groin). Also involved in Houston's recent training sessions were U.S. Open Cup casualties Will Bruin (right hip pointer) and Alexander Lopez (left hip pointer).
"It's always refreshing to see guys come back from injury," Ashe said. "We're focusing on the next 18 games we have. What we did the first half of the season, you can't change that. All you can do is change the approach to how we're going to start the second half of the season."