Real Salt Lake (14-10-4) at Houston (11-7-9), 8:30 p.m.
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - The pressure may be starting to mount on the
The club welcomes Real Salt Lake to BBVA Compass Stadium on Thursday, giving
the Dynamo a chance to snap their four-game winless run.
"It's frustration," Dynamo striker Brian Ching told MLSsoccer.com of the
team's mood at training Tuesday. "We're a team that thinks we're better than
the results that we're getting. We've got to put the work in and it?s going to
be hard to get back into the swing of things, but I think we've got the team
that can do it."
Earlier this season, Houston looked to be in a strong position to contend for
the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but its recent slide has dropped the
club to fourth place where it sits eight points out of first.
"We have seven games left and we're a team that feels we're better than having
to play off to get into the playoffs," Ching continued. "It's a difference
between an entitlement feeling and going out there and proving it and putting
the work in to be one of the best teams."
It's often said that you have to beat the best to be the best, and Houston
will face a stern test to its credentials against Real Salt Lake.
The Claret and Cobalt have occupied second place in the Western Conference for
virtually the entire season, but that position was threatened by their four-
game winless streak during the month of August. That run came to end on the
first day of September as they claimed a 1-0 win over D.C. United last time
"Another pretty strong one," head coach Jason Kreis said of the performance
against United. "I think there were some critical errors back there that we
covered ourselves pretty well with, but in the first half in particular we
nearly gave them a goal. [Nick] Rimando's performance was outstanding again
[Saturday]; obviously he made some critical saves for us in the second half."
Will Johnson, who provided the lone goal against D.C. United, stressed the
importance of the win over the Eastern Conference club, as well as each
remaining match until the close of the season.
"It gets us one more step closer to a playoff position," Johnson said of
Saturday's win. "It keeps the pressure on the other teams in and around us.
"It's very tight in our conference at the moment. There's only five or six or
seven games for most teams left so it's getting down to crunch time and every
three points gets you closer to the playoff seat."