The Houston Dynamo are at a pivotal point in their season. Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium, they face the Montreal Impact (7-12-3) — an expansion team, which is fighting tooth and nail not to have an expansion season.
It may be only July in a season that runs into November, but there are already playoff implications in the hot Houston air. The top three teams in each conference and four at-large wildcards (regardless of conference affiliation) advance to the playoffs. The Dynamo (8-5-7) are tied for fourth in the Eastern Conference (geography is not the MLS' strong point) with the Chicago Fire with 31 points. Montreal follows in sixth place with 24 points.
No, Montreal doesn't have a player who's married to a Spice Girl, a player who poses for Armani in his underwear.
Even though the Impact have done well at home, they have struggled mightily on the road.
But this first-year team boasts some star power.
No, Montreal doesn't have a player who's married to a Spice Girl, a player who poses for Armani in his underwear. The club has signed European players Marco Di Vaio, a player with outstanding international experience who's still looking for his first MLS goal, and Alessandro Nesta, a man who has won every major international soccer title in existence from the World Cup to the Champions League trophy, though.
Nesta is a major get for MLS — even at age 36. Unfortunately, good defenders in soccer, as in other team sports, do not get the same publicity as goal scoring machines like Messi or Ronaldo. Or a Beckham. There is some question whether Nesta is game fit but, his mere presence gives this match an extra something. Even if he spends it on the sidelines.
The Dynamo are still undefeated (6-0-3) in their new home in league play.