Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs. New York City FC
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Friday, September 30 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)
Match Odds: Houston 11/10 – Draw 5/2 – NYCFC 85/40
Houston Dynamo welcome New York City FC to BBVA Compass Stadium in this week’s Friday night MLS clash, with the visitors looking to climb to the top of the East with just three weeks of the regular season left to play.
The Dynamo sit bottom of the West and are all but out of the playoffs. They sit nine points behind sixth-placed Seattle with one game in hand so they have to win this if they are to have any chance at all.
But it looks more a case of trying to end the season on a high ahead of next year. They have won two on the spin coming into Friday’s clash and will be looking to damage NYCFC’s title chances here.
The visitors sit just one point behind Toronto in the Eastern Conference and will only have two games to play following the game in Houston so it’s make-or-break for them now.
They are guaranteed a first-ever playoff berth but the aim will be to finish at the top of the East after an excellent second MLS season.
Patrick Vieira’s men beat Chicago 4-1 last week but have not won back-to-back MLS games for three months so they may struggle to live up to expectations in Texas on Friday night.
NYCFC have plenty of goals in them but they struggle to keep them out. They have not kept a clean sheet in their last five and have the second-worst defensive record across the league.
This is just the second ever meeting between the two sides. Last year’s clash in New York ended 1-1 and another tight contest is expected here.
Houston Dynamo will be without Tyler Deric and Agus, while Rob Lovejoy is a doubt. Midfielder Alex needs to be careful as he’s one booking away from suspension.
New York City FC are set to be without five first-team players as Connor Brandt, Shannon Gomez, Maxime Chanot, Frank Lampard and Steven Mendoza are all sidelined with injuries.
Houston Dynamo’s last five: D/L/D/W/W
New York City’s last five: L/W/L/D/W
Key Stat: Houston have only lost one of their last ten home games in MLS.
Key Player: Mauro Manotas – The Dynamo forward made a real statement last weekend with a hat-trick in the win over Portland. He’ll be looking to build on that with another strong display against NYCFC here.
Houston Dynamo 1-1 New York City – A close game is expected in Houston on Friday, with neither side looking strong enough to win the game. The Dynamo are in good form but will struggle to outscore a strong NYCFC side, with for the visitors, inconsistency is likely to prevent them from leaving with the three points they need. Score draw.