The Houston Dynamo host the San Jose Earthquakes this Saturday night. Both teams are looking to end September with three points and a win. The game will be Houston’s third game in seven days.
Wednesday, the Dynamo won the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for the first time in club history. They defeated the Philadelphia Union 3-0 in a game that the Union was unable to find a foot in. It looked like the Union had scored an early goal but after it was ruled offside the Dynamo took the ball down to the other end of the field and scored. Mauro Manotas scored both Houston’s first and second goals to continue his scoring run in the Open Cup. The Dynamo’s third goal came from an own goal scored by Auston Trusty in the 65th minute.
The Dynamo are flying high from their USOC win but they have struggled in the MLS regular season. Last weekend they tied 0-0 against the Orlando Pride in a lackluster performance on the road. They currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference ahead of just two teams, the Colorado Rapids and San Jose.
The Earthquakes are in 12th place in the West and have 20 points so far this season. Their four wins are the fewest of any team in MLS for 2018. Their current interim head coach is a familiar face to Dynamo faithful as Steve Ralston was an assistant in Houston for years before making the move to San Jose. Ralston took over as interim head coach a few weeks ago when Mikael Stahre was fired. San Jose’s last win was on August 29 against FC Dallas when they outscored Dallas 4-3. Since then they have lost four straight including last week’s loss to Los Angeles FC. LAFC’s Walker Zimmerman headed home two corner kicks from Carlos Vela. The first goal came in the 41st minute of the game and the second in the 68th to seal the win for the visiting team.
The Dynamo injury report is the smallest it has been all season with only AJ DeLaGarza and Mac Steeves listed as out. DeLaGarza was in the 18 on Wednesday for the first time this season after tearing his ACL at the end of last year. Philippe Senderos isn’t listed on the injury report but did leave Wednesday’s game before halftime after going down on the field. San Jose is only without rookie Kevin Partida who suffered an ACL tear earlier this season.
A home game against the bottom team in the league seems like it should be an easy win for the Dynamo but there is a very real chance of a post-USOC hangover for the young team. They will have to stay focused if they want to prevent giving up three points at home.