Chivas USA (6-15-8) at Houston (11-10-7), 8:30 p.m.
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - The Houston Dynamo will continue their drive for
a playoff berth on Saturday when last season's MLS Cup finalists host Chivas
USA at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Houston came into last week's critical Eastern Conference showdown against the
Philadelphia Union in poor form having been winless in four straight league
games and on the outside of the playoff picture.
But in a hostile environment in Philadelphia, Houston's veteran experience
as the club pulled out a 1-0 victory over the Union to leap into fifth place in
the East with 40 points.
Philadelphia had the better of the play early on and appeared to open the
scoring in the 31st minute when Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall badly misjudged
the flight of a Keon Daniel free kick and it soared into the top corner.
But the goal was waived off as the assistant referee flagged Union defender
Amobi Okugo for offside.
Houston then grabbed the momentum in the second half with some set piece magic
in the 51st minute when Brad Davis whipped a free kick into the box where
Ricardo Clark was there to nod it home for the only goal of the match.
"Things haven't been going the way we wanted, but we had a talk this week about
how we need to stay together and stay as a unit," Davis said. "Tonight was a
perfect example of that, grinding out a win."
"It was one of those nights where the game, wasn't perfect, but you have 10
other guys watching your back and that's what a team effort is," said Hall. "We
definitely took a couple of punches the last couple of weeks. It's about how
you respond, and I think we responded very well to the situation when we needed
Chivas USA, meanwhile, is coming off a 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers
last week which saw the side improve to 26 points from 29 matches played.
The Goats opened the scoring in the 23rd minute through a Bryan de la Fuente
goal, but Portland answered back with a second-half strike from substitute
But Chivas head coach Jose Luis Real praised him team's performance:
"In my opinion it has been a game of more quality. Perhaps we have played other
games with a lot of effort, or only with effort, and that has just been enough
to have tied some games. But today I think the two teams had a game of quality,
it was a game of great effort, it was the most complete game and I'm happy
because despite that we didn't win, we played a rival who is one of the
strongest and I feel happy, not satisfied because we had the opportunity to win
it, but we need to recognize we had a great team in front of us."
In 17 all-time matchups between the clubs, Houston holds a comfortable 10-2-5
edge, including a 1-0 win against the Goats earlier this season.