MONTREAL - With Montreal facing the prospect of going winless in three straight Major League Soccer games for the first time this season, a match against last place Chivas USA could be just what the Impact need.
Montreal's first home loss followed by a 3-3 draw in Toronto on Wednesday night made it the third time that the Impact have gone two in a row without a win.
On Sunday they host Chivas (3-10-4), which enters on the strength of a scoreless road draw in Dallas but haven't won a league game in over three months.
"For sure this game can be a bit of a trap," Impact defender Hassoun Camara said after practice Friday. "They have had a lot of turnover and they may not even really know where they stand right now, but at the same time we saw that they came up with a strong effort in Dallas with a draw on the road.
"We're going to have to be aware of how they are developing, but I think that we're really going to have to sort out our little faults and continue to move forward with what we know how to do."
What the Impact knows how to do is score goals. Montreal was the first MLS team to reach 30 goals this season. The problem is they have also been allowing too many lately, a total of seven in their last two games, including a 4-3 loss to Colorado last Saturday.
"I think the second half against Toronto we turned a corner a little bit," Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins said. "Even against Houston, we win 2-0 but I don't think we were that solid defensively. We gave up too many good chances, and chances that were in really dangerous spots for us, but I think in the second half we were much better.
"We tried to play at one point, we got caught with it, and at that point we say, 'Look, we can't do that. It's not going to be that easy.' So I think moving forward we have a good feeling about ourselves and this is a good chance for us to solidify our defensive third."
Camara acknowledges that the Impact's defence needs to step up.
"Sure it's tough. Every team wants to beat us now," Camara said. "We're in first place so that makes us a challenge and we have to be ready for a big effort. It's up to us to be stronger when it gets tough because I think the goals we allowed in Toronto were avoidable. It was really a time in the game when they pushed hard and we weren't able to hold them off so we need to rectify that as soon as possible, and continue to generate a strong offence."
Chivas has gone 0-10-3 since March 30, when a 2-1 win over Vancouver capped a 3-1-1 start to the season.
Perkins says the Impact have no way of knowing what version of the other Los Angeles-based MLS team will take the pitch at Saputo Stadium on Sunday night.
"You don't. You really don't," Perkins said. "The players they have are very technical players. You know that they're going to try to play but you don't know what you're going to get from them. I mean, you may get one of the best teams in the league one day and then the next day you're going to get the worst team in the league. So for us we have to approach it the way we always do. It's our home, it's our game so we have to make them play the way we want them to play."
Impact coach Marco Schallibaum will be back on the sideline Sunday after sitting out his third one-game suspension of the season.
"That was a big point for our team," Schallibaum said. They have a good mentality to never give up until the end of the game. That is one of the biggest strengths of our team."
The longtime European coach was suspended for stepping on the field during the loss to Colorado, a trangression that did not result in Schallibaum being ejected from the game or sanctioned by the referee.
"I can't say what I think because then I have a problem again with the MLS, but I think that it was very hard for something that was not aggressivity behind, or something like this," Schallibaum said. "So that's the first thing and the second is it's very hard to be on the bench when you are a coach, but it is much harder when you are upstairs. But that is I hope the last time I'm there somewhere in the stadium because it is not easy for a coach."
NOTES: The Impact signed midfielder Paolo DelPiccolo to a contract Friday. The Wheat Ridge, Colo., native was chosen 27th overall by Montreal in the second round of the January 2013 MLS Superdraft. "This is a tough team to be on," DelPiccolo said. "It's a good team, so it feels good to be a part of it."