Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Saturday, October 8 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)
Match Odds: Houston 11/10 – Draw 23/10 – Colorado 23/10
It may be international week, but neither of these sides have any call-ups to contend with and so an intriguing battle is expected to take place on Saturday evening.
Houston’s 2-0 loss to NYCFC last time out effectively ended their playoff hopes. They looked to be mounting a late-season surge, but they failed to register a single shot on target in that defeat and will likely struggle against a strong Colorado side here.
The Dynamo are rock bottom of the Western Conference, 11 points off the playoff spots with four games to play so it’s all about preparing for 2017 now.
On the other hand, Colorado are still fighting for the MLS Supporters’ Shield. They are five points behind league leaders FC Dallas but have two games in hand over the Texan side.
A win in Houston on Saturday would move the Rapids to within two points of FCD, setting up what should be a thrilling end to the regular season.
After struggling for the past couple of seasons, 2016 has been a fantastic year for Colorado. They have the best defence in the league and have only suffered five defeats all season.
They come into Saturday’s game unbeaten in four and are expected to prove too strong for the Dynamo in what could be a low-scoring affair.
These two sides will meet again on the final day of the regular season at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, in a game that could see the Rapids crowned Supporters’ Shield winners.
Houston Dynamo have two players sidelined, with Tyler Deric and Agus both out. Midfielder Alex is one booking away from suspension and will need to watch his step as a result.
Colorado Rapids could be without five first-team players. Dillon Serna, Jermaine Jones and Bobby Burling are all definitely out, while Kevin Doyle and Sean St Ledger are doubts. Sam Cronin, Marc Burch and Dominique Badji are all one booking away from suspension.
Houston Dynamo’s last five: L/D/W/W/L
Colorado Rapids’ last five: L/W/D/D/W
Key Stat: Houston Dynamo have lost just one of their ten all-time regular season home clashes against the Rapids, with that lone loss coming in the 2011 campaign.
Key Player: Tim Howard – The signing of Tim Howard turned the Rapids into a real force. Their defensive solidarity is proven by the fact they have kept 13 clean sheets this season – the most in MLS, and Howard is a key reason for that. He has three clean sheets in his last four and will expect to keep Houston out on Saturday night.
Houston Dynamo 0-1 Colorado Rapids – The Rapids have the best defence in the league and should be able to keep a clean sheet against a side that tend to struggle for goals. This might not be the most entertaining of games but a Rapids win would put them in a strong position at the top end of the Western Conference heading into their final three games.