Dynamo-Rapids Preview

BY foxsports • October 26, 2012

The Houston Dynamo just found out who they're going to play in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals in March.

They're still unsure who they'll face to open the MLS playoffs.

Houston could be playing for the third seed in the Eastern Conference on Saturday night in Commerce City, where it closes out the regular season against a Colorado Rapids club finishing one of the worst campaigns in franchise history.

After clinching its sixth playoff appearance in seven years last Saturday with a 3-1 win over Philadelphia, Houston advanced to the Champions League quarterfinals on Tuesday with a 1-all draw versus Honduran side CD Olimpia.

The Dynamo will take on Mexican club Santos Laguna in the next round.

"It's a lot of momentum built in with clinching playoffs and clinching quarterfinals in just a couple of days," backup goalkeeper Tyler Deric told the Dynamo's official website after starting against Olimpia. "... Our next focus is on Colorado this weekend and hopefully we can get a result there and keep the momentum going."

The Dynamo (14-8-11), who rode a season-best nine-game unbeaten streak into last year's MLS Cup final, need a win Saturday if they're going to have any chance of avoiding the one-game knockout match between the fourth and fifth seeds.

Houston is currently fifth in the East with 53 points, one back of New York and three behind third-place Chicago.

If the Fire lose to United and the Red Bulls fall at the Union earlier Saturday, Houston would most likely earn the third seed with a victory. The Dynamo lead Chicago by three goals scored in the first playoff tiebreaker.

Houston would obviously prefer to avoid the play-in match, but hosting that elimination game as the fourth seed wouldn't be the worst position as it is just became the fourth club in MLS history to complete a season without a home loss.

The road back to the finals could be far more difficult if the Dynamo have to open away from home. Houston has just one win in its last 14 as the visitor.

The Dynamo played to a scoreless draw in their last trip to Commerce City on July 3, 2011, and have gone three consecutive matches at Colorado without finding the back of the net. Houston is winless (0-3-2) in its last five overall in this series, though this is the first meeting in nearly 16 months.

The Rapids' goal Saturday is to finish on a positive note. After setting a team record for losses Oct. 6 by falling 4-1 to San Jose, Colorado (10-19-4) ended a 10-match road winless stretch last Saturday with a 2-0 victory over West-worst Chivas USA.

Martin Rivero and Kamani Hill scored to help the Rapids avoid finishing in the West basement.

"We trained hard this week to be prepared for the game and be ready end the season in the best way possible," Rivero told the Rapids' official website. "We want to win to give a final bit of joy to our fans who have supported us all season."