Trask Smith

Crucial match in San Jose "counts for double" in Dynamo's playoff hopes

The Houston Dynamo are looking to bounce back from their first home loss of the season as they hit the road to face the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night (9:30 p.m. | KUBE 57). The Dynamo are also looking to solidify a berth in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs with seven games left in the season.

Separated by only two points in the Western Conference standings, Houston and San Jose meet in a match that is crucial to both teams playoff hopes. With the stakes set high, the Dynamo have a short-term memory when it comes to their 1-0 loss last week to the Colorado Rapids.

“We have to move on with a good mentality knowing that despite the loss, we’re still in 5th place,” said head coach Wilmer Cabrera. “This is a game that counts double because they’re just two points behind us. If they win, they’re going to be above us and if we can win, we’re going to keep the distance and that is really important.”

It will be the third and final regular season meeting this season between the two clubs, the previous two coming as Dynamo wins at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo won their previous trip to Avaya Stadium and hold a 2-1-0 record since the venue opened in 2015.

A former Earthquake, Ricardo Clark is expected to feature in midfield for the 250th time in a regular season Dynamo game. The Dynamo’s team captain, Clark looks to keep the team focused on staying the course to their 7th playoff appearance.

“We are looking forward to bouncing back, just get there and get the job done,” said Clark. “Everybody just wants to move forward, look forward; not worry about things that happened in the past and cry over things that happened in the past. We just want to get ready and get the mindset that we have to get results.”

One player who won’t be able to lead the team to another win in San Jose is the club’s assist leader Alex, who will miss Saturday’s match due to yellow card accumulation. Cabrera does have options in Alex's midfield role, including Memo Rodriguez, Boniek García and a potential first start for Tomás Martínez.

Whoever gets the call in midfield will have the task of helping the team break down the Earthquakes’ defense and create clearer opportunities on goal. The rest will be up to the forwards, who are responsible for 35 the Dynamo’s 46 goals this season.

“We are going to try to get the three points,” said forward Romell Quioto. “I think that [against Colorado] even though we didn’t win, it was a game where we created a lot of chances, we attacked and that is going to be important against San Jose.”