The Houston Dynamo travels to Philadelphia to play the Union as both teams look to gain ground in the Eastern Conference. The Houston Dynamo are riding a three match losing streak with the latest being a disappointing 2-0 defeat to a beatable New England side while the Philadelphia Union were defeated 2-1 by the New York Red Bulls this last Wednesday.
The Dynamo will have the benefit of a full week's rest and the return of David Horst at center back and possibly the return of Dynamo Captain Brad Davis, but the standings do not really reflect how good a side this Philly team is. For one, they've scored in every game this year, have drawn to RSL, and have only been beaten twice on the year and that was to a surprisingly good Columbus side and to New York. This Philly side is also motivated to not drop anymore points this week after their mid-week loss, and they definitely want to earn those points at home in front of their fans.
It isn't all that bad though, and it definitely isn't quite the trap game that the New England match was. Philly has only beaten one opponent this year after all and that was a 1-0 victory over New England. However, that was earlier in the year and this is a very different team now than it was two weeks ago.
Fan-favorite and last year's leading scorer Jack McInerney was traded to Montreal for the #1 pick in the 2012 MLS draft Andrew Wenger. Wenger is not the poacher type, but he's fast and can play all over the front line and even in the midfield. Last week he lined up as the lone striker and he's shown that he can provide hold up play. How Philly works him in along with players like Sebastian Le Toux, Conor Casey, and Maurice Edu is completely up in the air and that's good for the Dynamo. While having a versatile forward like Wenger provides a lot of options, none of them have been tested yet.
Returning center back David Horst will certainly help shore things up along the backline in a suddenly leaky Dynamo defense. Jermaine Taylor will likely be the starting center back next to Horst but, A.J. Cochran's play is comforting as a replacement option. The Dynamo defense will be tested in this match, but the Dynamo midfield should have an easier time maintaining possession in places other than the defensive third of the field.
While I mentioned standings and must win games in the previous preview, games like this against Conference opponents that are close in the standings are huge games any time of the year. The Dynamo will need to snap this losing streak if they don't want to rely on a late year push for the playoffs again. It won't be easy as the Dynamo are more than aware about road woes, but it is possible to beat this team. The Dynamo will kick off Saturday at 3 PM central.