Houston (6-4-4) at Montreal (8-3-2), 8 p.m. The Houston Dynamo will return from a two-and- a-half-week break with a daunting clash against the Montreal Impact at the Stade Saputo on Wednesday.
Houston has not played a league match since drawing the Columbus Crew, 1-1, at Crew Stadium on June 1, an unfortunate result given the fact that Dynamo held the lead with just over 20 minutes to play.
Warren Creavalle had given the visitors the lead in the 31st minute, but Federico Higuain managed to level the score in the 69th to see the two sides share the spoils.
While a road point against an Eastern Conference foe is nothing to sneeze at, Houston's hiatus certainly gives the club a great opportunity to regroup ahead of a massive test at Montreal.
"It's good and bad. It helps guys who've been out and need time, but at the same time, you kind of lose that flow," defender Corey Ashe told the club's official website. "It's been a long two weeks, but it's been a good two weeks of training though and I think we'll be good to go."
The break may have come at just the right time as the Dynamo are without a win in their last four league contests. Even with that sputtering form, though, Houston remains within four points of first-place Montreal, meaning that a Dynamo victory at the Stade Saputo would make for a one-point gap at the top of the Eastern Conference heading into the weekend.
The Impact, who saw their three-game winning run in league play come to an end with a 2-0 loss to the Crew last weekend, will be eager to make the most of another opportunity to extend their lead atop the East.
"It's a good opportunity for us to a play a good team coming in our home, a good Eastern Conference rival," said Impact defender Jeb Brovsky. "We need points now because we just gave up, essentially, six points on our own side. We need to keep going and we know Houston is not going to lay down for us either."
Montreal's first-place position in the East is made even more impressive by the fact that the club, along with the Chicago Fire, has played the fewest matches (13) of any side in the Conference.
And while FC Dallas leads the Impact by two points in the Supporters' Shield race, no club can match Montreal's MLS-best average of two points earned per game.