Nigel Brooks

Dynamo look to take winning ways north

The recent homestretch was kind to the Houston Dynamo, as they were able to take a full nine points from their three-game stretch. But it’s time for the team to take that streak north, as they face similarly red-hot Toronto FC on Saturday (3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Houston, MultiMedios Houston).

Streaks on the line

Both teams enter Saturday’s match with three game winning streaks. The Dynamo defeated D.C. United, Sporting Kansas City and the Montreal Impact last week to stretch their total unbeaten run to six games.

Toronto recorded victories over the Vancouver Whitecaps, New England Revolution and Colorado Rapids in a similar stretch of three games in one week, and added a 1-1 draw with Liverpool in a friendly match on Sunday. Despite their run, the Reds are still at the bottom of the conference standings, but new head coach Paul Mariner has brought a definite improvement to the side.

Cold times in Canada

While the men in orange will try to extend their winning streak, there is another streak that they will be more than happy to break this weekend. The Dynamo have never won in Canada, compiling a record of 0-4-3, and have lost in their last three trips to the Great White North. They have come up empty in two trips across the border this season, falling 3-1 to the Vancouver Whitecaps and 4-2 to the Montreal Impact.

Movin’ on up

The Dynamo’s unbeaten run has vaulted them from fifth to third place in the Eastern Conference table. With 34 points, Houston sits four points behind first place New York and only three points back of Sporting Kansas City. A win for the Dynamo on Saturday combined with a Kansas City loss would put the teams level on points for second place in the conference.

To the east side

The teams’ last meeting, a wild 3-3 draw in Houston, began a run of 14 consecutive matches against Eastern Conference opponents for the Dynamo. After eight games played, the Dynamo have a record of 4-1-3. After the completion of the 14-game stretch, the Dynamo will have played all three games against Toronto FC.

Players to watch

  1. Ryan Johnson – With the loss of leading goal scorer Danny Koevermans to an ACL injury, Johnson will be eager to pick up the slack. The big Jamaican will have his work cut out for him, though, if he wants to get past fellow countryman Jermaine Taylor.
  2. Luis Silva – The fourth overall selection in this year’s SuperDraft has started the last three games for the Reds – all of which have been wins. In those games, the rookie attacker scored two goals and provided two assists. That run of form will be put to the test against a defense that has allowed just two goals in its last six matches.
  3. Torsten Frings – Frings is the glue to the Toronto midfield. The German international is equally adept at hard tackles as he is at shooting from distance. His powerful leg and excellent service make him dangerous on set-pieces, and someone the Dynamo midfield will look to close down early.