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.
You can see all the action on TSN2 beginning at 7pm et/4pm pt.
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.
Los Angeles Galaxy at Vancouver Whitecaps
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - Vancouver Whitecaps FC will be pleased to be returning home as the club faces the Los Angeles Galaxy at BC Place on Saturday.
Watch the action live on TSN2 beginning at 9pm et/6pm pt.
Vancouver has lost three of its last five games to drop into a tie for fifth place, including a 2-0 defeat at Colorado last weekend.
The Whitecaps are still only one point back of Los Angeles ahead of Saturday's game, but a win or loss in that match could result in potentially dramatic different places in the standings.
A win could move Vancouver as high as second place, while a defeat could drop the Whitecaps as far down the table as eighth place.
With point being so valuable this time of year, Vancouver will be pleased to be returning home, where the team has already beaten the Galaxy once this season while amassing a record of 8-1-3 at BC Place this season.
The Galaxy collected two wins in the past week to boost their confidence, starting with a 4-2 victory in league play against Real Salt Lake before a 2-0 win over Cartagines in midweek in CONCACAF Champions League play.
After falling behind 1-0 early in the second half, Robbie Keane netted a hat trick and Omar Gonzalez scored as well to lead a furious rally.
"He [Keane] can do that on any given night, which is crazy to say but if we give him the ball in the right spots he's going to make those plays. He was terrific," said Galaxy forward Landon Donovan.
It was the second hat trick of the season for Keane, who has formed a nice partnership with Donovan since the American returned to the lineup.
The Galaxy's offensive ability was on full display in the second half, although Donovan believes his team has the capability to score goals on any given night.
"We've had a number of games this season where we've dominated in a lot of ways, we've put 20-plus shots on the scorecard and we've had a number of chances to score goals, and some nights we've scored three or four and some nights we don't," said Donovan.
Four of the next five games for the Galaxy will be against Western Conference playoff contenders, so if the offense is able to click at the right time, it would be a big boost for the defending champions.