June 23, 2018 / 12:12 AM / 2 months ago

Streaking SKC welcomes tough opponent in Houston

Sporting Kansas City looks to stretch its unbeaten streak to seven matches on Saturday, but it doesn’t figure to be an easy task.

That’s because Sporting Kansas City will be hosting the Houston Dynamo at Children’s Mercy Park and have prevailed just once in the last seven home matches in the MLS series.

Six of the meetings have ended in ties, with Houston winning the other. Sporting’s last home win over the Dynamo came Sept. 10, 2011.

The latest matchup comes with SKC (8-2-5, 29 points) tied for first place in the Western Conference with FC Dallas. The Dynamo (6-5-3) are in seventh place with 21 points.

Houston is just 1-3-3 on the road this season as it looks for a pivotal victory against the hot Sporting squad (3-0-3 in its last six matches).

The Dynamo are coming off a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids, marking just the second time all season that they blanked an opponent.

“I hope it is something that we can build on, realizing that we are solid enough to keep our opponents from scoring,” Houston coach Wilmer Cabrera told reporters.

Houston will be without defender Adolfo Machado — who is playing for Panama in the World Cup — as it attempts to slow down a Sporting attack that has scored twice as many goals (28 to 14) as it has allowed.

Forward Johnny Russell has five goals, which is tied with midfielder Felipe Gutierrez for the team lead. However, Gutierrez remains sidelined due to sports hernia surgery after scoring five goals in the first six games and being named MLS Player of the Month for March.

Forward Daniel Salloi, 21, also has emerged as a threat with four goals in his first season as a full-time starter.

Goalkeeper Tim Melia has been stellar with a 0.93 goals-against average. He is tied for the MLS lead with seven shutouts and will be counted on to help stymie a Houston squad that has scored 29 goals.

“They’ve always been a very explosive team,” SKC coach Peter Vermes said of the Dynamo. “They have some very dangerous players going forward. It’s a big challenge for us and we have to make sure that we’re really smart.”

Alberth Elis leads Houston with eight goals, while fellow forward Mauro Manotas has six and midfielder Tomas Martinez has four.

Overall, the Dynamo are unbeaten in their last eight MLS matches with SKC, winning four with four ties.

—Field Level Media

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