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Matchday Preview 18: Dynamo vs Philadelphia Union

Back home at BBVA Compass Stadium, the Dynamo will try once more to break their current winless streak as they take on the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.

It's getting awfully crowded in here, don't you think? With last weekend's 2-0 loss to the Red Bulls extending their winless streak to seven matches, the Houston Dynamo find themselves in an ever-tightening race. They current hold down the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 23 points, but with only three points in their last seven matches, they're now within striking distance for New England, Chicago and Columbus – all of whom could tie or pass the Dynamo with a win this weekend. And while it might normally feel good to be coming home, the Dynamo haven't won a league match at home since their 2-1 victory over Chicago on 14 April. The Dynamo will be looking to change that Saturday evening when they host the third place Philadelphia Union in a match that will feature sides missing players out for international duty in the Gold Cup. Philly striker Jack McInerney and midfielder Keon Daniel will be out, as will Dynamo striker Will Bruin and left back Corey Ashe. It will be interesting to see how the managers will cope with these losses over the next few weeks, as the players called up for international duty generally tend to be those who play vital roles at the club level. Even without McInerney and his ten goals, the Union are still a formidable side. Sebastian Le Toux and Sheanon Williams have both registered seven assists, and Conor Casey, while a downgrade from McInerney, still has six goals on the season – more than any Dynamo player. Dynamo fas are also familiar with Danny Cruz, who is a solid player as well – when he doesn't let his temper get the best of him. On the Dynamo side of things, both Brad Davis and Boniek Garcia have returned to full training, as the side continues its gradual return to full health. With Bruin away on national team duty, we'll also get to see whether or not a change at striker is what the Dynamo need to spark a run – though Bruin has four goals on the season, he's been in a slump recently. Maybe the change in scenery will do both the club and the player good, but that's something that only time will tell. The Dynamo have a replacement for Ashe in the form of veteran left back Mike Chabala, which means that they won't have to turn to relatively inexperienced backups to fill more than one vital role (though someone will have to replace Kofi Sarkodie at right back after that ridiculous yellow card last week). With the midfield apparently back up to full strength, it means that for the first time in many weeks, the Dynamo will probably get to have both Davis and Boniek on the pitch simultaneously, which will probably make it easier on both midfielders. With Andrew Driver performing quite well and Giles Barnes always a threat, we might finally see that loaded midfield that Dynamo fans praised before the season started. Hopefully, all of this will translate into points, because face it – they're needed right now. Badly. We can talk all we want about it still being early in the season, and how it's no time to panic (for the record, I still don't think it's quite time for that), but we're now in the back end of the season. There's still time, yes – but it's starting to run out. Historically, the Dynamo have always been known to make late season runs, but such a run wouldn't be as effective if they've played themselves out of a playoff spot – which is what they are currently doing. Make no mistake, the Dynamo are capable of doing this. I have no doubts about that. Will it happen Saturday night? I don't know. I sincerely hope so – the sooner the Dynamo start, the sooner we can stop stressing about their form – but we won't know that until 90 minutes have been played at BBVA Compass Stadium. Here's hoping that come this time Sunday morning, we're toasting a Dynamo victory. It's a long road back to where we want the Dynamo to be, and now is as good a time as any to start down it.