Houston Dynamo eager to tackle playoff rival Sporting KC: "Both teams enjoy this confrontation"

Two weeks is a long time to stew over a bad stretch. The Houston Dynamo will be looking to avoid the purgatory of entering Major League Soccer's break for the World Cup on a winless streak when they host Sporting Kansas City on Friday night (7:30 p.m. CT, TICKETS).

The past two weeks have been unkind to the Dynamo. Playing without three of their most influential players -- the injured Ricardo Clark and World Cup absences Brad Davis and Boniek García -- Houston have dropped their last three games by a combined score of 8-0. Worse than the results, the Dynamo have seen rookie Mark Sherrod endure a season-ending ACL injury and have struggled to create chances and provide a consistent level of play.

At home for the first time since their skid started and playing against a Sporting Kansas City team they have faced in the playoffs for three consecutive seasons, the Dynamo have a chance to put all that behind them.

“[Rivalries] always get your blood flowing a little bit,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “I think both teams enjoy this confrontation. It brings out the physical element in both sides. It’s an important one for us as we head into the [World Cup] break; it’d be good to get a win to go into the break on a positive note. Whenever you play your rival, I think it does bring out the best in you.”

Getting a result could be aided by the fact that Sporting are also reeling. Houston’s personnel woes have been well-chronicled, but Sporting have dealt with troubles of their own recently, with a depleted center-back corps and the sale of Oriol Rosell grabbing much of the spotlight.

That could put the teams on a level playing field and give Houston the chance to show the resiliency some have questioned.

“Considering a bad run of games, we still have the chance to jump a team in our conference right now,” forward Will Bruin told MLSsoccer.com. “Any opportunity you get to jump a team, you want to take it. It’s a great opportunity for us to jump Kansas City, and I don’t think we should be dwelling on what’s happened the past two weeks; we should just be focused on jumping KC.”

At 1-4 in their last five games, the Dynamo hope they have already endured their worst stretch of the season. Friday is a chance to prove to everyone, especially themselves, that they can respond and get rid of the bad taste currently in their mouths.

“It’s always good to go into a break with momentum,” center back David Horst told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s good if we can get back on the right track going into the break. That’s always a plus. Hopefully from here on out, now that we’ve gone through this rough stretch, we’ve looked in the mirror and looked at ourselves and start playing that way.”

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.