MONTREAL - Jeb Brovsky holds no grudge against the Vancouver Whitecaps for leaving him unprotected in the 2012 Major League Soccer expansion draft.
The Lakewood, Col., native had just completed a promising rookie season with the Whitecaps when he was selected by the Montreal Impact, joining his second expansion franchise in as many years.
"I understood that, protecting 10 guys, if you're a rookie you sometimes don't get protected," Brovsky said Friday. "That's business.
"It's really worked out for me because I'm happy here. I had a fantastic time last year with (former coach) Jesse Marsch and this year has been fantastic as well."
Brovsky still has friends on the Whitecaps, but that will be set aside when the teams meet Saturday afternoon at Saputo Stadium with Vancouver (10-10-8) looking to end a five-game winless run and Montreal (13-8-6) hoping to tighten its grip on a playoff spot.
The Impact's first game when it made the jump to MLS was a 2-0 defeat in Vancouver on March 2, 2012.
They met twice this year in Amway Canadian Championship play in May, drawing 0-0 in Montreal and 2-2 in Vancouver. The Impact won the series and claimed the Voyageurs Cup on the away goals rule.
"That was maybe a turning point in their season because they haven't got the results since we played them," said Brovsky. "And two ties in a final and you go through — it's tough to be on the losing end of that.
"So they might have a bit of desperation coming in here."
It's been a tough week for Montreal, which blew a lead and lost 2-1 at home to Columbus last Saturday and then flew to the West Coast to be beaten 3-0 by San Jose in the CONCACAF Champions League.
The team flew home Wednesday and coach Marco Schallibaum gave the players a day off Thursday to have them fresh as possible for the Whitecaps.
The Impact are second in the Eastern Conference, three points behind New York but with two games in hand.
The Whitecaps, who squeaked into the playoffs last season with only 43 points, are seventh in the West, two points behind sixth-place Dallas and five behind Portland, which holds the fifth and final playoff position.
Vancouver is 1-5-3 in its last nine games and has scored only seven goals in that span. Scoring leader Camilo Sanvezza has 14 goals on the season, but only one in his last seven games.
The return of 20-year-old winger Russell Teibert from national team duty may help against Montreal, whose defence has been bleeding goals of late even if the attack is strong. Marco Di Vaio, the MLS leader with 18, has seven goals in his last five league games.
Schallibaum does not disclose his lineup until he has to — one hour before game time — but Brovsky has appeared in all 27 games this season.
The 24-year-old started out as a centre midfielder with Vancouver, but was switched to right back during the season. In Montreal, he has found a home at left back, while the team's other iron man, Hassoun Camara, plays on the right.
After goalkeeper Troy Perkins, they have played the most minutes of any Impact players, with Brovsky at 2,340 and Camara at 2,334.
"When you play as much as we play, you have to stay focused," said Camara. "It's hard to play every game, but when you commit to do this for the team, you do it.
"I'd like to play all the games until the end of the year because I'm in a good way and I want to give my best."
"I'm ready to fight every day," added Brovsky. "You never know when your last game's going to be so I'd rather go out with a bunch of scars and see how long I can push myself."
In his MLS career thus far, Brovsky has spent time in two different Canadian cities and two very different soccer cultures.
In Montreal, the accent from the start has been on European style and players, with older, former Italian league stars Di Vaio, Alessandro Nesta and Matteo Ferrari leading the way.
It appeared at the start of this season that American players would be squeezed out and some have, but Brovsky, Perkins and midfielder Justin Mapp have flourished.
"There are similarities, but there are huge differences too," Brovsky said of the two clubs, who were rivals in other leagues for nearly two decades before they joined MLS. "(Owner) Joey Saputo and the front office here have a different view on the path they want to take and certainly it's working.
"We had a lot of questions at the beginning of the season about older players and the Italian strategy and whatnot, but we have put performances together and no one can doubt the numbers or that we're playing well.
"Vancouver's going the opposite way, with a lot of youth and building. But there are good players on both sides. It's funny what works and what doesn't in this league. You never know what is the winning formula, but I think we found something very special here."
One of Brovsky's pals on the Whitecaps is U.S. international defender Jay DeMerit, who returned last week from an Achilles heel injury suffered in the season opener.
The two players and their families have a dinner planned for after the match.
"Hopefully we're celebrating an Impact victory and I can buy him a drink," Brovsky said.