Dynamo-United Preview

The Houston Dynamo just have to knock off lowly D.C. United.

Some favorable results this weekend have given the Dynamo a

better chance to break into the top five in the Eastern Conference,

and they will try to secure their spot in the postseason Sunday

with a win over D.C. or a tie and some help.

With losses by Montreal and Philadelphia on Saturday, Houston

(13-11-9) got the help it needed to have a clear path into the

playoffs. A win over D.C. (3-23-7) would give the Dynamo 51 points

and guarantee no worse than a fifth-place finish in the East.

Should it tie United on Sunday, Houston would need a New England

loss against Columbus on Sunday to get to fifth place. The

Revolution’s 48 points are the same as the Dynamo’s but they occupy

the No. 5 spot thanks to their nine-goal advantage over Houston in

the season scoring.

Should New England and Houston tie, the Dynamo would need to

outscore New England by at least 10 goals this weekend.

Houston can reach as high as third place and avoid an

opening-round game with a win and ties/losses from the Revolution

and Chicago. Getting a win and one of those ties/losses will put

them in fourth and give them a chance to host the first round.

Houston has defeated D.C. by a combined 6-0 margin in this

season’s two matchups and won 4-0 at RFK Stadium in the most recent

of those May 8. Will Bruin scored two goals and assisted on the

other two in that victory.

The Dynamo needed two goals in the final 10 minutes of

regulation for a 2-0 home win over United in their season opener

March 2.

“Just saying ‘we beat them twice’ and saying ‘we’re playing

D.C., we should win this game,’ doesn’t mean we will win. We still

have to come out, prepare well, have the right mentality,” captain

Brad Davis told the team’s website.

The Dynamo haven’t helped their cause lately by earning just one

point in the past two games, albeit against the Eastern

Conference’s top two teams in New York and Sporting Kansas City.

Houston gave up a goal to New York in the first eight seconds last

Sunday – fastest in league history – and never recovered in a 3-0

defeat.

The Dynamo’s next opponent has been outscored 21-8 during an

11-game winless stretch (0-8-3). D.C. couldn’t find an answer after

giving up a goal in the seventh minute in a 1-0 defeat to Kansas

City on Oct. 18.

At best, United can match the fewest wins in an MLS season while

spoiling Houston’s playoff hopes. The Dynamo eliminated D.C. in

last year’s Eastern Conference finals before losing to Los Angeles

in the MLS Cup.

“Having them knock us out, it’s extra motivation to beat them

and maybe spoil their season a little bit and help us end on a high

note,” D.C. midfielder Conor Shanosky told the league’s

website.

Chivas USA had four wins in its inaugural 2005 campaign and the

defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny won four in 2001.

United midfielder Perry Kitchen won’t be available for the

attempt to avoid that dubious mark as he’s serving a suspension for

yellow card accumulation.