The New York Red Bulls take their five-match unbeaten streak into a mid-week battle against the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
The Red Bulls (16-6-4, 52 points) need to win to keep on track for a shot at the Supporters Shield — New York is just two points back of Atlanta United in the race for the best record in MLS.
Houston (7-11-7, 28 points), on the other hand, is desperate for a win after going eight matches, since July 7, without a victory.
New York comes into Wednesday’s game off a 1-0 win over D.C. United on Sunday. The match’s lone goal was scored by Alejandro Romero “Kaku” Gamarra, his first tally in 16 matches, and garnered the Red Bulls an Atlantic Cup victory over their longtime rivals.
The win was the third one-goal game for the Red Bulls in their past five matches. With New York getting closer to locking up its playoff spot, victories like these will benefit the club come playoff time, according to Red Bulls coach Chris Armas.
“These are perfect games for us,” Armas said. “The one-goal games, the ones on the road, again, if that’s the playoffs, you come home and second leg and you’re feeling really good. Every play matters — every throw-in matters. These games are great preparation down the stretch.”
The Dynamo come to Red Bull Arena off a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas in the Texas Derby that snapped a five-match losing streak. Houston is 10 points below the playoff line in the Western Conference.
While it wasn’t the win Houston craves, the Dynamo did show some determination, rallying for an equalizer in the 88th minute by Ronaldo Pena when it looked like they were dead in the water.
“It was a normal derby with two teams organized, respecting each other,” Houston coach Wilmer Cabrera said after the draw with FCD. “From our side, we wanted to cut the losing streak. After our presentation against Real Salt Lake, today was a much better game from us.”
The Red Bulls have an 11-5-8 advantage all time against Houston and have not lost to the Dynamo in eight matches at Red Bull Arena, owning a 7-0-1 mark, including a 4-3 win in the most recent match between the two sides played in Harrison (March 19, 2016).
—Field Level Media