Saturday, June 16, 2012
FC Dallas visits rival Houston Dynamo
By ESPN.com wire services
The Houston Dynamo haven't been satisfied with their play, but some time at home could help them get on track.
The Dynamo look to stay undefeated at their new stadium when they meet FC Dallas on Saturday night.
Houston (4-4-4) is tied for sixth place in the Eastern Conference and is hoping to make a move over the next few weeks while taking advantage of a favorable stretch in its schedule.
The Dynamo play four of their next five and seven of nine at BBVA Compass Stadium, where they have allowed one goal in going 2-0-1 since it opened May 12.
As promising as its home play has been, Houston was unable to carry that defensive effort over in a 3-1 loss at Vancouver on Sunday. The Dynamo played their first seven games on the road, winning their first two, but have since gone 0-4-3 away from home.
Houston's players said coach Dominic Kinnear made a point by placing the club's record on a board during a recent practice, urging the team to stick together.
"Regardless of how many games we've had on the road, we're a team that feels that we should be at the top of the standings," captain Brian Ching told the Dynamo's official website. "We're not there and he was just showing us the reality of it."
Houston will try to get this crucial home stretch off to a good start against rival FC Dallas (3-8-4) in a matchup for the El Capitan trophy, and the Dynamo appear to have an edge.
Dallas is two points out of last place in the Western Conference and has gone 0-6-3 in its last nine MLS games. The team has been off from league play since a 3-2 road loss to Real Salt Lake on May 26, and it also fell 2-0 to Charlotte in a U.S. Open Cup match three days later.
Dallas' winless streak is its longest since a 10-game stretch in 2005.
"Coach (Schellas Hyndman) kind of gave us a good analogy the other day," goalkeeper Chris Seitz said after the defeat to Charlotte. "We used to be the team that refused to lose, and we've got to get a little bit of that back."
While second-leading scorer Brek Shea has completed a three-game suspension after kicking the ball at an assistant referee in a 2-1 loss at Columbus on May 12, he will miss Saturday's match with turf toe. Forward Ugo Ihemelu is also out with concussion symptoms.
Their absences won't help a club that has been outscored 15-7 while going 0-6-1 away from home. Dallas hasn't gone winless in eight straight road matches since an 0-7-1 stretch in 2003.
Dallas has two wins in its last 11 games against Houston and was 1-6-3 all-time at the Dynamo's previous venue, Robertson Stadium.