The Houston Dynamo host their second of three straight home games on Friday night, as New York City FC comes to the BBVA Compass Stadium for the first time (6:45 p.m., UniMás).
New York City clinched their first ever playoff berth last weekend as they picked up a 4-1 win over the Chicago Fire at Yankee Stadium. NYCFC is in a three-way tie for the most points in the Eastern Conference with 48 (13-9-9 record), but is currently in third place with a +2 goal difference.
New York’s trio of Designated Players lead the way for the team. David Villa is second in MLS with 19 goals, Andrea Pirlo is in the top 10 with 10 assists, and Frank Lampard’s 12 goals are among the league leaders for midfielders. However, they’ve received contributions from outside their top three as well, with Tommy McNamara adding 5 goals and 9 assists, Khiry Shelton tallying 3 goals and 9 assists, and No. 1 SuperDraft pick Jack Harrison coming into form with 3 goals and 5 assists.
The defense, however, has allowed 53 goals in 2016, third worst in MLS. NYCFC is tied for the MLS lead for road wins this season with six, but is winless in their last five trips away from home.
Here’s how Dynamo interim head coach Wade Barrett breaks down the side: “Looking at how they build out of the back, they’ve committed to passing out of the back, and they’ve done that pretty well at times. Of course you have to worry about Villa, he’s always going to be a goal threat. You always have to be on your toes around a player like that. Lampard, we don’t know if he’ll be able to take part [due to a calf strain], but if he doesn’t take part they have other good players that can step in and play there.
“Pirlo of course picks a good pass – you can’t give that man too much time and space. Harrison has caused a lot of problems, and Tommy McNamara has had a good year also. He’s a player that isn’t the same big name as some of the other guys but he’s a good player, he finds good pockets of space and you can’t take your eye off him because he has good movement.”