|Major League Soccer|
· Int'l Soccer
Saturday, July 21, 2012 (All times Eastern)
Montreal (7-12-3) at Houston (8-5-7), 8:30 p.m.
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - The Houston Dynamo last lost a home game in league play on June 18, 2011, and the club will attempt to extend its unbeaten streak on home soil to 18 games on Saturday when the Montreal Impact visits BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Dynamo is one of two teams, along with Red Bull New York, that has remained unbeaten at home this season, and coach Dominic Kinnear's side has benefited from a recent homestand to move further up the table in the Eastern Conference.
Four of Houston's last five games have come at BBVA, and the club has been able to collect 11 points during that stretch to move to within five points of the top spot entering the weekend.
And in the Dynamo's last two games, the club has been able to come away with three points against teams placed above them.
"I think with the three-point rule, if you go on a winning streak, the three point rule is such a big boost. If you put wins together you can either create a gap on teams behind you or pick up points on teams in front of you," Kinnear said. "Yes, we have had red cards in both games but it's against D.C. and Kansas City and if you don't pick up the win they will jump farther ahead of you."
One of the biggest reasons for the recent run of success that Houston has enjoyed is the fact that the club has yielded just one goal in its last four contests.
Red cards in the past two games have obviously helped, a fact that is not lost on the Houston players.
"Obviously, the turning point in the last two games has been the red cards. Who knows what would have happened if it was 11 v. 11. When it's 11 on 10, I fancy our chance to win every game we play here up a man," said defender Bobby Boswell.
Montreal has won two of its last three games and has done a much better job defensively in recent weeks, giving up only four goals in the past three games after a stretch that saw the Impact let in 13 goals in a five-game span.
The Impact enters Saturday's match trailing Houston by seven points with two more games played, and head coach Jesse Marsch has watched his side lose 12 of its first 22 games in MLS.
But Marsch feels his team is continuing to improve in its inaugural campaign despite what the standings say, and he was proud with how his team responded to a last-minute defeat against Philadelphia last weekend.
"I think we are moving ourselves along, but overall I think there is a little disappointment in some of our performances because we feel we are a good team," said Marsch. "We don't use the 'expansion' word anymore. We try to emphasize coming together as a group and how to deal with tough moments, and make adjustments, but the best part that after a crushing defeat last Saturday, we came back with a good performance."
If Montreal is going to be the first visiting team to win at BBVA, the Impact will have to be more than good. They will have to replicate their effort from a 4-2 win over the Dynamo on June 23.
07/20 16:37:31 ET
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