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Match Preview: Houston eyes win streak

The basics

Philadelphia Union (1-5-1, 7th place in Eastern Conference) at Houston Dynamo (5-4-1, Tied for 2nd in Western Conference)
7:30 p.m. CT, Robertson Stadium, Houston TX
First all-time meeting

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Broadcast info

Fox Soccer Channel (7 p.m. pregame)
Fox Sports en Español (7:30 p.m.)
SportsTalk 790 (6:45 p.m. pregame)
La Ranchera 850 (7 p.m. pregame)

Last meeting:

This is the first meeting between the two sides.

What's at stake?

Both teams are somewhat mirror opposites of each other. Philadelphia only has four points from the team’s first seven games. However, the Union have several games in hand and have played a disproportionate number of games on the road as they await completion of PPL Park. If Philadelphia can steal some points on the road now, the Union could make a playoff push later when the schedule is kinder. Houston, meanwhile, has had seven of its first 11 games at home. The Dynamo are looking to win back-to-back games for the first time this year. If they do, they will keep pace with the Western Conference pack trailing the Galaxy before the schedule forces the team on the road more often.

Heroes & villains

Alejandro Moreno vs. Eddie Robinson: Former Dynamo forward Moreno was a fan favorite for his hard work, ability to hold the ball, and tenacity. However, his ability to draw fouls might be the one aspect of his game most troubling to Houston this weekend, with Philadelphia having several targets on set pieces. Robinson seems to have done a good job of limiting the cards and fouls he has conceded so far this year. However, Moreno has a propensity for frustrating opposing defenses.

The Union vs. themselves: Philadelphia has three red cards in only seven games, and goalkeeper Chris Seitz and the defense have given up some soft goals. The Union cannot afford to gift a weak goal or give up a man advantage and expect to get points against the Dynamo in the heat and humidity of the Houston summer.

Stat that makes you go “Hmm”

Ten different Dynamo players have scored goals this year, with midfielders scoring nine of the team’s 14 goals and two forwards (Luis Landín and Dominic Oduro) producing six of the team’s 18 assists.

He said it

“They are tough and physical. They have had some bad luck. They have good players, and they are faces that we know. In the end, [Peter] Nowak has them working hard, which will prove successful. Their season hasn’t gone great, but they’ve only played seven games, so I think it will be a hard game for us.” – Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear