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Houston Dynamo look to keep playoff hopes alive against travelling Sporting Kansas City

Houston will look to keep their place in the standings in a huge Western Conference matchup against rivals Sporting Kansas City

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Sporting KC at Houston Dynamo Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

In the Houston Dynamo’s last outing they were able to climb into a playoff position after they bested Minnesota United FC 2-1 as they moved from 7th place in the Western Conference standings to 5th. That doesn’t mean the Dynamo have their ticket punched for their first playoff appearance in three years. In fact, they’re tied with FC Dallas on points who sit just one spot below them and the San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake are just a single point behind making every game an opportunity to slip below the final postseason berth.

That is why the next two games against Sporting Kansas City are so important. They’ll face off against SKC in Houston Wednesday before going to Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas this Sunday for another matchup with SKC. Originally, the game Wednesday was to be played August 26th, but was postponed due to Hurricane Harvey.

Players with their national teams

Both Houston and Kansas City will be short handed when they meet Wednesday evening. Houston will be without forwards Romell Quioto, Alberth Elis, Adolfo Machado, and DaMarcus Beasley while SKC will be without Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, Benny Feilhaber, and Tim Melia. For the Dynamo, they’ve got several proven replacements in tow that can plug into Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera’s system pretty easily. Dylan Remick, Vicente Sanchez, Cubo Torres, and Mauro Manotas should be ready to see heavy minutes in this one.

For Sporting KC, replacement options are less clear in particular at goalkeeper. Tim Melia will miss 2-4 weeks with a hamstring injury. Andrew Dykstra appears to be the number two goalkeeper, but for many he hasn’t earned that position outright. Adrian Zendejas, who plays for their USL affiliate Swope Park Rangers, has looked promising in his performances with SPR. These two games should definitely test Head Coach Peter Vermes with his lineup decisions.

How will rest impact each team?

With a double week game against the same conference opponent this week, the Dynamo were fortunate to have the weekend off from games. They did play a midweek game last week, their annual Dynamo Charities Cup last Thursday, but they should be fresh and ready for the challenge. Peter Vermes’s side meanwhile had to travel to Minneapolis to face MNUFC last Saturday. With so many players missing for both clubs, any additional rest could be the difference between a draw and a win – if not today, then possibly in their next meeting this Sunday.

With only three games left in the season, two against SKC this week, there is very little room for error. Not having our national team players hurts, but we have the depth to turn a disadvantage into an advantage given how many important players SKC will be missing. After this week we may know if the Dynamo are headed to the postseason for the first time in three seasons or if they drop this opportunity they’ll be watching the playoffs from home.

The Dynamo will kickoff against Sporting Kansas City at 7:00 PM CT at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, TX.