Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - A pair of Canadian clubs will square off at the Stade Saputo on Saturday as the Montreal Impact play hosts to Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Neither side brings a particularly strong run of form into the match, but Saturday's tilt could have significant playoff implications.
Montreal is in a rather comfortable position in the Eastern Conference, entering the weekend tied with Sporting Kansas City for second place on 45 points apiece. But the club's ace in the hole comes in the form of the two games in hand it has over first-place Red Bull New York, which leads the East on 48 points.
The Impact squandered the chance to stay level with the Red Bulls last weekend when they fell in a disappointing 2-1 home loss to the Columbus Crew.
It was, perhaps, a match that defies logic as Montreal has yet to beat Columbus to this point in Canadian side's sophomore season in MLS.
"We had a good first half. We had a lot of chances and we controlled the game well from the first ten minutes on," Marco Di Vaio said after the match. "Columbus is a hard team for us to play against, so it was no surprise for us tonight that the game was hard."
Di Vaio is enjoying a superb season with the Impact as his MLS-leading 18 goals have lifted the Italian to the forefront of the MVP ballot.
Third in the scoring chart is Camilo Sanvezzo with 14 goals on the season, twice as many as Vancouver's second-leading scorer in Kenny Miller. But the 'Caps have not garnered much else on the attacking end.
And that is where Darren Mattocks figures into the equation.
As a rookie last season, Mattocks produced seven goals in 15 starts, and even netted a fantastic postseason goal against the eventual champions Los Angeles Galaxy.
But the production has fallen off in his sophomore campaign as Mattocks has found the back of the net just three times in 16 appearances. He hopes his fortunes will change down the final stretch of the season.
"This is an opportunity for me to seize and get back into the team," Mattocks told a correspondent from Vancouver's official website. "If I get back into the team and score a couple of goals, or just if the team wins - it can change the season entirely ... I think this is the part of the season where you have to make the most of your opportunities, and that's something I'm looking to pounce on."
The Whitecaps are looking to get back to the postseason as they come into Saturday's clash five points adrift of the playoff picture.