After timid showing, Marco Schallibaum demands instant response from first-place Montreal Impact

MONTREAL – You can’t always win, but you can always respond to a loss.

Such is the message emanating from Montreal Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum as his team looks to avoid losing twice in a row for the first time this season when the Houston Dynamo pay their second-ever visit to Stade Saputo this Wednesday (8 pm ET, MLS Live).

The Impact’s 2-0 loss at the Columbus Crew last Saturday had assistant coach Mauro Biello lamenting the team’s timid approach to the early stages of the game. Mistakes cost the under-pressure Impact goals in the sixth and 22nd minutes, and Schällibaum expects nothing less than a 180-degree turnaround on Wednesday.

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“Every home game, we’ve shown how good we are at pushing teams back,” Schällibaum told reporters on Tuesday. “We'll do everything to do so tomorrow.”

The Dynamo have yet to score in the opening 15 minutes of games in 2013, which will further lift the Impact’s spirits. But after an 18-day layoff from MLS action and a US Open Cup exit against Texas rivals FC Dallas, Houston are surely just as desperate to avoid a second consecutive loss as well.

“It’s important that we start the game well,” Schällibaum said. “If we’re better than them, it means that if they start in fifth gear then we’ll start on sixth. It’ll be an interesting game, an important one for the standings. We’re still first with games in hand, but we have to extend our lead.”

The Impact will also welcome Alessandro Nesta’s return from suspension, the timing of which could hardly be better.

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“His presence means we might have three tall guys against crosses,” Patrice Bernier said, also referencing Matteo Ferrari and Troy Perkins. “Houston plays a lot on the wings, looking to cross the ball. But most of all, it’s his experience and the fact that he'll calm us down when they whip in a lot of balls since they quickly move forward.”

In addition, Montreal should be able to count on winger Andrés Romero to help them add to their East-leading 26 points in 13 games. The Argentinean missed the weekend trip to Columbus with an ankle injury but felt no pain during training on Tuesday. Justin Mapp is doubtful, however, as he is nursing a hamstring knock picked up in Columbus. He will be a game-day decision.

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