The Houston Dynamo hope that rest and playing on their home pitch will make a difference — and produce a much-needed win — when Sporting Kansas City comes to town on Saturday for a pivotal Western Conference clash at BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown Houston.
The Dynamo (7-8-6, 27 points) are winless in their last four games (0-2-2), and suffered their second straight defeat in a 2-1 loss at Portland on July 28. Meanwhile, Sporting Kansas City (9-6-6, 33 points) hasn’t won in five games (0-4-1) and lost for the second straight outing when it fell at home to FC Dallas on the same day.
Something has to give on Saturday — as both teams chase the three points that a win would bring.
Houston’s grueling loss to Portland was in its fifth match in 15 days and dropped the Dynamo to 1-5-4 on the road in 2018. Houston used its 21st different starting lineup this season. Coach Wilmer Cabrera has now employed 53 different starting combinations in 55 games as the Dynamo head coach since the start of the 2017 season.
“We played very well in the first half and had the opportunity to pressure and attack and get some things done,” Cabrera said after the loss to Portland. “In the second half some players got tired — but that’s normal with the number of games we’ve played in the short period of time. We tried to keep (the ball) but we couldn’t, and Portland was able to take advantage and punish us. We needed to do better.
“We have to go home and rest and try to think how we can get back to playing our best against Sporting Kansas City. It’s been tough, and it’s been complicated, but we have to work through this.”
Sporting Kansas City’s loss to Western Conference-leading FC Dallas ended the club’s 10-game home unbeaten run in all competitions. Over its recent winless streak, Sporting has dropped from first to fifth in the West standings.
“Every player who has played in this league has been through this type of thing,” Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes said. “Almost every season, you have it. Almost every team has it in every season.
“The biggest thing is that you have to realize that it only changes because you work to make it change. It doesn’t change just because someone says it’s going to. Our guys know that. You have to keep working towards it. You have to face it head on.”
Coincidentally, Sporting Kansas City’s most-recent victory came against the Dynamo when they erupted for three second-half goals in a 3-2 home win on June 23.
Houston holds a 10-6 all-time edge over Sporting Kansas City, with 12 draws, and has won six of the 14 matches played in Houston, with five ties. The Dynamo won the most recent match played in Houston between the two teams, 2-1, last October.
—Field Level Media