Houston Dynamo (6W-5D-12L, 23 points, eighth in Western Conference) vs. Toronto FC (7W-7D-10L, 28 points, third in Eastern Conference) at Robertson Stadium in Houston.
All-time record: Houston leads the series 2W-4D-1L.
Rogers Sportsnet 8:30 p.m.
Two of the coldest teams in MLS square off in Houston, with both teams hoping that a victory will at least move them back into the playoff discussion. Toronto are 1-6-3 in their last 10 MLS contests while Houston are 1-5-4, leaving both teams’ playoff chances on life support.
The Dynamo come off a bye week and face a Toronto FC team that has had to deal with midweek CONCACAF Champions League matches both before and after the weekend contest with the Dynamo.
Houston will have to make up their match against Kansas City next Wednesday. But with the schedule, Toronto FC’s travel and the heat and humidity, it’s hard not to give a slight edge in the intangibles to Houston.
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Fresh off falling to D.C. United last week, Toronto FC parted ways with both director of soccer Mo Johnston and head coach Preki. Interim head coach Nick Dasovic steps in to run a team that has seen its playoff hopes falter of late but still only trails Seattle by five points for the last playoff spot.
In the team’s first game in the post-Preki era, TFC came out flying on Wednesday in the game’s opening 20 minutes and looked very impressive, jumping out to a 1-0 lead against the defending MLS champs at Rio Tinto Stadium. However, four unanswered goals sent the Reds packing with a disheartening defeat in Dasovic’s debut.
During an unexpected off-week, Houston have slipped to the bottom of the Western Conference and now have the second-worst record in MLS, something that doesn’t sit well with the team’s veterans. While Houston’s playoff chances took a near fatal blow against San Jose earlier this month, this veteran-laden squad still has its pride and will look to right the ship over the remainder of the team’s schedule.
Houston will have to find a way to play without arguably their best player over the last month in midfielder Brian Mullan, who was traded before the deadline. With the veteran gone, Danny Cruz seems likely to fill in on the right with Corey Ashe spelling both Cruz and Brad Davis as needed.
Heroes & Villains
Dwayne De Rosario v. Geoff Cameron: With midfielder Lovel Palmer suspended and Anthony Obodai recovering from surgery, it seems likely that Cameron will again start in midfield, where he will square off against the former Dynamo legend. The Toronto FC maestro has nine goals and three assists in 2010 and is an integral part of the Reds attack. Whoever wins this match will have a shot at stopping their team’s respective slides.
Stat that makes you go “Hmm...”
Houston have allowed the first goal in 14 of their 23 MLS games this year, going 1-12-1 in those contests.