The Houston Dynamo will try to avoid a fifth straight defeat when Real Salt Lake visits BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday.
A rough patch for the Dynamo (7-10-6, 27 points) got worse Aug. 11 in Columbus when the Crew’s Gyasi Zardes scored in stoppage time for a 1-0 victory over a tired and shorthanded Houston team.
The Dynamo played their third match in eight days without suspended players Alejandro Fuenmayor, Darwin Ceren and Alberth Elis and coach Wilmer Cabrera, all of whom were ejected from a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City on Aug. 4.
While Elis has one more game to serve, the others will return, and the Dynamo hope to take advantage of Real Salt Lake losing 2-0 at Los Angeles FC on Wednesday.
RSL (10-10-5, 35 points) could be without goalkeeper Nick Rimando, Major League Soccer’s career leader in wins and shutouts, who left at halftime of the LAFC match with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Andrew Putna. Real Salt Lake coach Mike Petke did not have a timetable for Rimando’s return.
Petke sat midfielders Joao Plata and Damir Kreilach and forward Jefferson Savarino on Wednesday in anticipation of Saturday’s match in what should be sweltering conditions in Houston.
“A few of the guys will be rested, including Joao, a lot of guys who are playing again need to make a quick recovery, and then we’ll take it from there,” Petke said.
RSL holds the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, two points back of Portland and two ahead of Vancouver. Houston is 10th.
“We’re outside the playoff picture at the moment,” Dynamo defender Andrew Wenger said. “There’s only so many games left. We need all the points we can get. There’s pressure right now. We haven’t won in several games.”
—Field Level Media