(Photo credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
The Houston Dynamo have been one of the surprise teams in MLS this season and will attempt to get back on track in league play when they host Copa Tejas rival FC Dallas on Saturday in a crucial late-season Western Conference match.
The Dynamo (12-11-7, 43 points) head to the weekend in fourth place in the West, above the playoff line for home-field advantage in the first round of the postseason. Dallas (10-10-10, 40 points) occupies the West's ninth and final playoff position. Both teams have four matches to play in the regular season.
Only five points separate second place from ninth in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Dynamo carry plenty of momentum into Saturday's match after beating Inter Miami for the U.S. Open Cup championship on the road on Wednesday.
"It is a great injection for us, a massive boost," Houston midfielder and captain Hector Herrera said. "There's four games left that are going to be very important, especially the ones at home. It's a big motivation to end the season."
Houston is 4-3-1 in its past eight MLS matches, including a 2-1 loss at Sporting Kansas City on Sept. 23. Teenage Hadebe had the Dynamo's goal in the loss, with Ethan Bartlow credited with his first career MLS assist.
Dallas has dropped just one match in its past 12 outings across all competitions, with four wins and seven draws in that stretch. The Toros head to Houston after a 1-1 draw in Philadelphia on Wednesday, with Alan Velasco scoring Dallas' goal and Maarten Paes recording three saves to allow the visitors to split the points.
"We know from last year that that we can compete there," Dallas coach Nico Estevez said of playing in Houston. "And It's about competing, having the right mindset and knowing that we have the quality to do a good game there, and winning there will be huge for us."
FC Dallas has scored at least one goal in its last 13 matches across all competitions, its longest streak since 2018. Seven of those matches have been on the road.
--Field Level Media