The Montreal Impact are hoping to be the first team to beat Houston in their stadium. But they will have to do so without Felipe.
The Brazilian midfielder (above left) did not fly to Houston with his teammates on Thursday, as reported by Le Journal de Montréal, and will therefore be unavailable for Saturday’s game at BBVA Compass Stadium (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online). Felipe had battled an illness this week, but a groin strain will prevent him from playing against Houston.
Rookie Calum Mallace, who trained alongside Patrice Bernier on Friday in Houston, will be handed his second career MLS start, but, crucially, it will be his first at his natural midfield position.
The 22-year-old Felipe has been a fixture for Montreal this season, having skipped a mere 138 minutes of the Impact’s 31 games. He is the club’s top assist provider with 10 and has scored four goals.
Mallace, 22, was the Impact’s second-round pick (20th overall) in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, the first-ever Marquette University alum to be selected. He was handed his first, and so far only, MLS start at right back on June 30, but was withdrawn at halftime.