Dynamo-Union Preview

AP - Sports

With the final four Eastern Conference playoff spots still very much up in the air, the Houston Dynamo know they can't afford to leave many points behind down the stretch.

The visiting Dynamo look to take advantage of what appears to be a favorable matchup Sunday as they go for a fourth straight win over the Philadelphia Union, who are trying to avoid a franchise-record nine-game winless streak.

While Sporting Kansas City sits atop the East, Houston (12-7-10) finds itself in a tight battle with Chicago, New York, D.C., and Columbus for the other four postseason berths. The Dynamo could have an edge given their easier schedule - all five remaining games come against teams with worse records, including two versus Philadelphia (7-14-6).

The Union, limited to four goals in going 0-4-4 since the beginning of August, also had an eight-game winless streak last season but have not had a longer one in their three years of existence. They most recently fell 1-0 to United on Thursday.

"I think as a team we need to have a little bit more fight," goalkeeper Zac MacMath told the club's official website. "Bring it all out on the field (and) not let up a goal against. We just need to find that urge to go get a goal and win games. I think that's something we all need to work at."

Philadelphia hasn't fared very well against the Dynamo of late, either. The Union fell 2-1 at Houston on June 30 and have gone 0-3-1 over the last four meetings, including two losses in the first round of last season's playoffs.

"Houston is another good team, we have to be ready for them," captain Carlos Valdes said. "We have some history and memories with Houston and they are coming here to a place where we need a win. For ourselves, for the fans. It's an important game."

While the Dynamo are coming off Thursday's 4-0 win over CD FAS in the group stage of CONCACAF Champions League, they've won only once in their past six league games (1-2-3).

In its last MLS match, Houston nearly pulled out a win at Kansas City on Sept. 14 but had to settle for a 1-all draw after allowing the game-tying goal in the third minute of second-half stoppage time.

"It's very hard because we don't go into any game just trying to get a point," captain Brad Davis told the team's official website after setting a new career high with his seventh goal.

"We go in trying to win the game and we tasted it and it was there. Guys fought like crazy and came out of here with a well earned point but, all in all, we came for three and we just weren't able to come away with it."

Since posting 1-0 wins in its first two road games, Houston has gone 1-7-5 on the road in league play while giving up 24 goals.

The Dynamo and Union conclude their season series Oct. 20 in Houston.

View Comments (0)
  • U.S and Japan unchanged, Wambach starts on bench

    By Simon Evans VANCOUVER (Reuters) - The United States and Japan named unchanged starting lineups for their Women’s World Cup final clash at BC Place on Sunday. U.S coach Jill Ellis left all-time top scorer Abby Wambach on the bench for the third … More »

    Reuters - 48 minutes ago
  • With Blatter no show, Hayatou to present trophy at women's final

    By Simon Evans VANCOUVER, (Reuters) - Cameroonian Issa Hayatou, one of FIFA’s vice-presidents, will present the Women’s World Cup trophy to the winners on Sunday in the absence of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, a spokesman for the governing body … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 17 minutes ago
  • U.S. football fans issue warning to Japan: 'It's our time'

    By Robert Chiarito CHICAGO (Reuters) - Scores of football fans, waving the American flag and wearing red, white and blue normally worn during July 4 cookouts, attended viewing parties across the nation for the women's World Cup final between the … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 18 minutes ago
  • Ferencvaros record third Cup triumph in four months

    Ferencvaros completed a rare Cup treble in four months after seeing off champions Videoton 3-0 away in the Hungarian Super Cup final on Sunday in the city of Szekesfehervar. Ferencvaros claimed last season's League Cup with a 2-1 win over Debrecen … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 33 minutes ago
  • Canadian coach John Herdman recalls favourite moments from Women's World Cup

    Canadian coach John Herdman recalls favourite moments from Women's World Cup

    As the Women's World Cup wound down, Canadian coach John Herdman pointed to his team's very first game when asked about his favourite memories from the tournament. The biggest is Herdman's joyful embrace with Christine Sinclair after the Canadian … More »

    The Canadian Press - 1 hour 40 minutes ago