United-Impact Preview - NBC Sports

United-Impact Preview
October 23, 2014, 4:06 pm

It's not clear if D.C. United will have anything at stake in its finale.

The only thing on the line for the Montreal Impact is the possibility of not finishing with the league's worst record.

The top and bottom teams in the Eastern Conference meet when visiting D.C. tries to stretch its unbeaten run to six games Saturday against the short-handed Impact.

United (17-9-7) has clinched the No. 1 seed in the East with 58 points and has a chance of hosting the MLS Cup should it face Los Angeles. For that to happen, D.C. must win Saturday and have the Galaxy lose in Seattle in a match that starts an hour before this one.

United improved to 3-0-2 in its last five MLS matches and clinched the East title with last Saturday's 2-1 home victory over Chicago.

"We just won the East so now you have to win the MLS Cup," coach Ben Olsen said. "That's the next logical expectation to us at least. So our expectation of ourselves is that we need to go try and win the MLS Cup so what else could we want?"

D.C. is without midfielder Luis Silva, who sat out last weekend and will miss at least three more weeks with a hamstring injury. Silva has a team-high 11 goals in league play.

Eddie Johnson was inserted into the lineup and he and Chris Pontius scored. Olsen said he is considering his options on how he will approach the playoffs.

"We got some work to do in the next week or two to continue to find (things) to become a better team," the coach said.

D.C. will complete a remarkable turnaround after finishing with a league-worst 16 points in 2013.

That's what Montreal (6-18-9) will try to emulate next season. The Impact have a league-low 27 points, three fewer than Chivas USA and San Jose.

Those West clubs meet Sunday. Montreal will be spared the distinction of finishing with the worst overall record with a victory over D.C. and a loss by the Earthquakes.

The Impact will be without three suspended defenders after a testy 1-1 draw last Saturday at Toronto that eliminated their bitter Canadian rival from postseason contention.

Heath Pearce and Hassoun Camara were sent off and are automatically suspended. Matteo Ferrari drew a yellow card that has resulted in his suspension for this match.

"We'll try to put out a strong group to try to win the game," coach Frank Klopas said. "It's the last game of the season, but because of those suspensions, we're going to have to make adjustments, for sure."

Both teams have qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. D.C. won 1-0 at Panamanian team Tauro on Tuesday to gain the No. 1 seed in that competition while Montreal drew 1-1 at New York on Wednesday.

D.C. has a win and a draw in the season series, with Fabian Espindola having four assists for United and Jack McInerney scoring two goals for Montreal.

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