With a league-high eight players out injured, the Impact will need to rely on a few periphery players when they welcome red-hot FC Dallas to Saputo Stadium in Major League Soccer action on Saturday.
"It's obviously tough losing guys," said midfielder Calum Mallace, who has seen his playing time rise as a result of injuries. "Especially with some of the long-term injuries — you never want to see a guy get hurt like that. And the little nicks and bruises we've been picking up don't help.
"But we think we have a deep team and we're going to rely on a lot of people this year."
Most recently, Montreal lost Dominic Oduro to a groin injury in the team's 4-1 victory over Real Salt Lake last Saturday. The speedy winger will be out several weeks.
The week before, forward Kenny Cooper went down with a knee injury against Toronto FC in the Amway Canadian Championship. He underwent surgery on Friday and is expected to miss a few months.
Montreal also lost midfielder Justin Mapp (dislocated elbow) and forward Cameron Porter (knee, ACL tear) in March.
Things aren't much better for the Impact at the back.
Montreal (1-3-2) has been without defenders Hassoun Camara (knee) and Victor Cabrera (ankle) for more than a month. Donny Toia (ankle), expected to return in the coming days, has not played since Apr. 29.
And after sustaining a head injury on May 13, defender Maxim Tissot missed the club's following match. His status is uncertain, though he trained with the Impact on Friday.
"It's never a good sign when you have so many injuries so early in the season," said centre back Bakary Soumare before practice on Thursday. "We're going to have to be careful. We have fewer and fewer players and we know injuries will keep coming as the season goes on.
"I can't explain it."
All in all, the Impact could call upon a few lesser-known faces on Saturday. Eric Alexander will likely get the start in midfield, and defender Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare and forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel may start on the bench.
Montreal's injuries at the back could prove costly with the arrival of a speedy Dallas team on Saturday.
FC Dallas (6-2-3), unbeaten in its last five matches, leads the Western Conference with 21 points from 11 games. Oscar Pareja's men are tied with a league-high 17 goals.
"They're a dangerous team in the final third," said Soumare, who's 55 minutes away from reaching 10,000 in his MLS career. "They have a lot of players who are difference-makers. They've shown that already this season."
Dallas's biggest threats up front are Panamanian international Blas Perez and 22-year-old Fabian Castillo. Together, Perez and Castillo have combined for nine goals this season. Castillo is tied for second in the league with five assists.
"You can't let them turn on you, you can't backtrack while defending them," added Soumare of Castillo and Perez. "We'll try to close them out before they find any space to run. With players like that, you don't want to get in a foot race."
Notes: Montreal is 0-2-1 all-time versus Dallas. … Frank Klopas will be back on the sidelines for the Impact after serving a one-match suspension. … FC Dallas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy leads the MLS with a 0.75 goals-against-average.Suggest a correction