Nothing like some mid-week MLS action to get everyone excited!
The defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids come to Robertson Stadium tomorrow night in a match-up of two teams moving in opposite directions. While the Dynamo are on a six-match unbeaten streak, the Rapids haven't won a game since April 3rd. None the less, it's the first match in a challenging stretch for Houston that will see them face several playoff contenders before the end of the month.
We've seen the Dynamo beat up on teams below them in the standings, so now it's time to see how they deal with some of their peers in the table...well, except for Toronto.
Dominic Kinnear will have the enviable problem of having to decide which of his forwards to start tomorrow night. Cam Weaver and Will Bruin have been carrying the load the past couple weeks, but Brian Ching is healthy again and new signing Sergio Koke available as well.
The Rapids are slumping. As I mentioned earlier, they've not won a game since April 3rd and had lost three straight matches before their draw against Chicago last weekend. Andre Akpan's goal in the 50th minute was the first for the Rapids in 319 minutes of play...not the kind of statistic you want to see is your a Colorado supporter.
Despite the offensive struggles, this is not a team to be taken lightly. The Dynamo will need to continue the solid defensive play and make sure they win the midfield battles to avoid allowing the Rapids to control play and pepper Tally Hall with chances. On the other end, Colorado has showed they can be scored on this season, so look for whomever gets the start up front to have a good day.
Brian Mullan won't get a chance to play his first match in Houston since being traded to Colorado last season as he's serving a suspension for the horror tackle on Steve Zakuani. I'm not going to re-hash the incident or get in to the details, but from a Dynamo perspective, it's disappointing that Mullan won't be able to be in Houston for the match as he's a fan favorite and was very popular in the locker room as well.
- Houston is 5-0-2 at home all-time against Colorado, including a win in the 2006 Western Conference championship game. The Dynamo lead the all-time series 8-4-3 but are 0-2-1 since a 1-0 win in April 2009.
- Dynamo captain Brian Ching, who has been limited to 63 minutes due to injury, has dominated the Colorado Rapids over his career. Ching has netted 13 goals in 18 career games against Colorado, including four goals in one game in 2006 and four game-winning goals from 2006-09.
- The Dynamo are currently unbeaten in six games (3-0-3) since losing the season opener at home to Philadelphia. That unbeaten streak is the club's longest in MLS play since April-June 2009, when Houston went 11 games without defeat, a club record.
- Houston went unbeaten in April for the first time in team history, posting a 3-0-2 mark while outscoring opponents 10-4 and moving from the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings into a tie for third.
- One of several teams off to a hot start, the Dynamo join Real Salt Lake and the New York Red Bulls as the only teams to rank in Major League Soccer's top five both in scoring offense and scoring defense. Houston ranks third in scoring offense at 1.57 goals per game and fifth in scoring defense, conceding 0.86 goals per game.
- Rookie forward Will Bruin scored the fifth hat trick in club history in last Friday's win over D.C. United, netting three goals in the game's first 57 minutes and earning MLS Player of the Week honors. At 21 years, 187 days, Bruin became the second-youngest player in league history to net a hat trick; former Columbus forward Stern John scored three goals in 1998 at the age of 21 years, 170 days. Bruin is also the fourth rookie in league history to complete a hat trick.
- Midfielder Brad Davis leads MLS with six assists after setting up two of Bruin's goals against D.C. United. Davis is already halfway to his career high in assists, 12. Dating back to Sept. 18, 2010, Davis has 12 assists in his last 14 games. His career regular season total stands at 70 assists, 13th in MLS history and third among active players. Dynamo assistant coach Steve Ralston is the all-time leader with 135 assists.
- After finding the net against D.C. United, forward Cam Weaver has scored in three of his last five games and five of his last 12 MLS contests dating back to last season.