MLS Preview and Prediction: Chicago Fire vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer – Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: Toyota Park – Saturday, May 21 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)

Match Odds: Chicago Fire 6/5 – Draw 23/10 – Houston Dynamo 23/10 

Match Preview

It’s the battle at the bottom of Major League Soccer in this fixture as Chicago Fire welcome Houston Dynamo to Toyota Park.

Chicago come into this one off the back of their 1-0 away loss against RBNY, which was their fourth loss in their last five games.

Veljko Paunovic’s side have had form better at home than their overall form suggests and in their last five they’ve won one, drawn two and lost two.

Chicago Fire sit bottom of the Eastern Conference on seven points. They’ve only won once all season and scoring goals is their main problem. The Fire have only conceded 13 goals which by comparison to the league high of 22 isn’t too bad, but they have only found the net 12 times.

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Houston Dynamo come into this one off the back of their 1-0 win over Salt Lake, their second win in three but those are their only two wins in their last nine.

Dynamo haven’t won any of their last 13 on the road and have only picked up two points in those 13 games.

Owen Coyle’s side are bottom of the Western Conference, they have won three of their 11 games and it’s a similar story to Chicago in that they have scored one less than they have conceded, 18 for and 19 against.

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Team News

Chicago Fire have five injury concerns heading into this tie. John Goossens and Michael Harrington are expected to be out, while Collin Fernandez, Arturo Alvarez and Patrick McLain are all doubts.

Raul Rodriguez is Houston Dynamo’s only injury concern for this tie.

Key Points

Chicago Fire’s form: L/D/L/L/L

Houston Dynamo’s form: L/L/W/L/W

Key Stat: Houston Dynamo have lost their last nine away matches in MLS and have conceded at least two in nine of their last 11 away.

Key Player: Kennedy Igboananike – The Chicago forward has netted four goals in ten so far this season. If he can get on a scoring run he can lift his teammates and give them the belief they need to work their way up the East.

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Score Prediction

Chicago Fire 2-2 Houston Dynamo – These two will both be looking at this as a game they can win. Houston are in the better form coming into the tie but their away form would make a win look unlikely before kick off. Chicago need to use home form to take points off visitors to Toyota Park but in reality a point does neither of these sides a favour.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Saturday, April 23 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST) 

Match Odds: Columbus 4/5 – Draw 13/5 – Houston 100/30

Match Preview

Columbus Crew host Houston Dynamo is a clash between two sides desperate for points as they look to climb their respective conferences on Saturday night.

Columbus picked up their first win of the season in the 3-2 home victory against New York City last weekend, ending a run of five games without success to start the campaign.

Gregg Berhalter will be delighted to have seen his side seal three points and will see Saturday’s game as the perfect opportunity to make it two on the bounce. The Crew sit ninth heading into the weekend and need to start climbing the table quickly.

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Houston aren’t faring much better themselves over in the West. Owen Coyle’s men have picked up the same amount of points as Columbus (5) after six games, but currently sit bottom of the Western Conference.

Last week’s 4-1 home defeat to LA Galaxy will have left supporters disappointed, particularly after the Dynamo took the lead inside 60 seconds. An improved performance this week is crucial to prevent panic setting in.

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Houston have a poor record away in Columbus, having not won in eight attempts, and will need to be at their best to stand a chance of leaving with all three points this weekend.

These two sides met once last year, with Houston coming out on top in a 1-0 win at BBVA Compass Stadium in March. However, the Dynamo have not scored in their last two visits to MAPFRE Stadium.

Team News

Columbus will be without Gaston Sauro as he is still out with a hamstring injury, while Tony Tchani and Corey Ashe are doubts.

Houston have just one injury concern heading into the weekend as Rob Lovejoy is a doubt with a hamstring strain. Owen Coyle is expected to make changes to the side that lost 4-1 to LA Galaxy last time out.

Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: L/D/D/L/W

Houston Dynamo’s last five: W/L/L/D/L

Key Stat: Columbus have only lost one of ten home meetings against Houston in MLS, with that defeat coming in 2007.

Key Player: Ethan Finlay – The Columbus winger had his best game of the season last weekend as he tallied a goal and an assist in the 3-2 win over New York City. If he can build on that display, he’ll cause the Dynamo all kinds of problems.

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Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 2-1 Houston Dynamo – Columbus might have had to wait six weeks to get their first win of 2016, but they should now follow it up with another home victory on Saturday. Houston have struggled so far, having not won in four, and don’t look set to trouble the Crew enough to seal three points here. Home win.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Houston Dynamo vs LA Galaxy

Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy

Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Friday, April 15 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports 1)

Match Odds: Houston 13/8 – Draw 13/5 – LA Galaxy 6/4

Match Preview

Houston Dynamo welcome LA Galaxy to BBVA Compass Stadium in this week’s Friday night MLS clash in what is a key Western Conference battle at this early stage of the campaign.

Houston started the season in great form, scoring eight goals in their opening two games, but they have only picked up one win so far and are looking to snap a three-game winless run here.

Owen Coyle’s side were perhaps unlucky to draw with Seattle last weekend, with Chad Marshall’s 94th minute equaliser preventing the Dynamo from picking up all three points. They need to bounce back straight away against another strong Western opponent but will be confident of doing so.

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Houston are unbeaten in six home games now, while the Galaxy haven’t won any of their last seven on the road. Add in the fact that Houston have won each of their last four home games against LA and it’s difficult to overlook the hosts here.

The Galaxy travel to Houston off the back of their 1-1 home draw with Portland on Sunday night. A late Nat Borchers own goal rescued a point for an injury-struck Galaxy team but they will need to put in a better performance if they are to take anything away from Friday’s clash.

LA haven’t scored away from home in two attempts so far this term. A 1-0 loss to Colorado was followed by a 0-0 draw in Vancouver and so the team’s road troubles aren’t showing any signs of improving just yet.

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers

Bruce Arena knows this is a big game. The Galaxy sit three points above Houston in the West coming into the match and so there is plenty at stake at this early stage.

These two met three times during the regular season last year. Houston won the only clash at BBVA Compass Stadium 3-0. The Galaxy won one home game 1-0, with the pair drawing 1-1 at StubHub Center in the first meeting of last season.

Team News

Houston will be without Colleen Warner once again, while Abdoulie Mansally is a doubt with an ongoing concussion issue.

LA Galaxy will be without Nigel De Jong after his horror tackle on Darlington Nagbe last weekend. At the time of writing a suspension has yet to be issued, although the MLS Disciplinary Committee are expected to hand out a multiple-game ban to the midfielder before Friday’s game. Robbie Keane and Dan Kennedy remain injured, while Steven Gerrard, Jeff Larentowicz, Leonardo and Robbie Rogers are all doubts.

Key Points

Houston Dynamo’s last five: D/W/L/L/D

LA Galaxy’s last five: W/L/W/D/D

Key Stat: Houston have won each of their last four home games against LA Galaxy by a combined score of 9-2.

Key Player: Will Bruin – The Dynamo forward started the season in blistering form, picking up three goals and two assists in his opening three matches. He hasn’t contributed to a goal in the last two games but he will be desperate to be back amongst the goals against the Galaxy here and could cause them real problems.

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Score Prediction

Houston Dynamo 2-0 LA Galaxy – Houston have performed better than their 1-2-2 record suggests so far and will expect to beat a Galaxy side that struggles away from home. Injuries and suspensions to key players won’t help LA’s cause and so a second defeat of the campaign looks to be in line for the Western Conference giants.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer Fixture: Vancouver Whitecaps Vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: BC Place – Saturday, March 26 – 23:00 ET (03:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Vancouver Whitecaps 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – Houston Dynamo 15/4

Match Preview

Vancouver Whitecaps welcome Houston Dynamo to BC Place on Saturday night looking to get their second win of the season against their Western Conference rivals. The Dynamo will be looking to get a third victory in four matches after a fine start to the campaign.

The Whitecaps sit in unfamiliar territory in ninth place after three weeks. They will rue missed chances from their opening games, particularly in the loss to Montreal on opening weekend, and need to pick back up now.

Of the three fixtures played, Seattle Sounders would of looked, on paper at least, as the toughest   opening game but they overcame Sigi Schmid’s men by a 2-1 scoreline last week.

Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps 2016

Pedro Morales netted two penalties in that victory, taking his tally to three for the season – with all goals coming from the spot.

Vancouver now have back-to-back home games and they must make them count as they try to climb the table or questions will start to be asked of their credentials.

Houston Dynamo are the league’s top scorers with eleven goals so far – the most of any MLS team after three games in history. Will Bruin is a man in form at the moment with three goals to his name and is the league’s joint top scorer.

MLS: New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo Bruin

They will consider themselves unfortunate that they lost against the New York Red Bulls 4-3 last Saturday, having been 3-1 up, but they must now show their resilience by bouncing back here.

Owen Coyle will be satisfied with the start the Dynamo have made to their campaign and they could still have many more surprises up their sleeve as the season unfolds.

Team News

Vancouver Whitecaps have a few players on international duty with Marco Carducci, Kendall Waston, Tim Parker, Christian Dean, Blas Perez, Christian Bolanos and Marco Bustos all away with their national teams. A calf strain keeps Russell Teibert out of the clash.

Houston Dynamo will likely be without captain Giles Barnes, who is struggling with a hamstring injury. Cristian Maidana has a concussion ruling him out, while Tyler Deric is also out with an abdominal injury. Oscar Boniek Garcia is away on international duty as is Erick Torres.

Key Points

Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: L/L/W

Houston Dynamo’s form: W/W/L

Key Stat: Houston Dynamo have never won at BC place.

Key Player: Pedro Morales – The Vancouver captain has three goals already this season. He is a leader on the pitch and is so vital to this Whitecaps side that need to start putting wins on the board. The Chilean has plenty about his game and will want to keep up the impressive form for the Whitecaps against their Western Conference rivals.

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Score Prediction 

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 Houston Dynamo – Both teams are more than capable of scoring goals, there is no doubt about it. A draw would likely be a fair result because of the international break, causing disruptions for the hosts as they have several internationals in their side. It would be seen as a good point if Dynamo get anything from it and they will expect to in what could be a tight affair.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Saturday, March 19 – 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT) 

Match Odds: NY Red Bulls 4/6 – Draw 14/5 – Houston 4/1

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls welcome Houston Dynamo to Red Bull Arena on Saturday as they look to finally get off the mark in the 2016 Major League Soccer regular season.

The reigning Supporters’ Shield holders have endured a very tough opening two games so far this season and are yet to score a goal. They lost their opener at home against Toronto and last weekend fell to a 3-0 thumping away at Montreal.

Although it is early doors this is still a worrying factor for Jesse Marsch and he will have his side fully prepared to take on an inform Houston side. Red Bulls are currently propping up the Eastern Conference and nothing short of a win here will be good enough.

If the Red Bulls are to challenge for the Supporters’ Shield again this campaign they are going to need to be far more impressive than they have been so far. It isn’t all doom and gloom as we are still early into the new campaign but Marsch’s side cannot afford another lapsed performance here and they will already have some impatient fans heading into the tie.

Sebastian Giovinco Penalty

Houston come to Red Bull Arena in a prime position. They are unbeaten in their opening two outings and have looked impressive.

They come into the tie off the back of their amazing 5-0 demolition job over FC Dallas last weekend, a result that not only shocked fans but sent out a message to the rest of the Western Conference.

Owen Coyle will be delighted to see his side sitting third in the West but will be more than aware of how difficult this tie can be.

Dynamo have really struggled on the road in recent times in MLS and they won just twice away from home last season. Starting with an away win here would be an enormous boost.

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Team News

New York Red Bulls have just the one injury concern heading into this tie as Damien Perrinelle remains out.

Houston Dynamo have five injury concerns. Collen Warner is out, while Tyler Deric, DaMarcus Beasley, Giles Barnes and Cristian Maidana are all doubts.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ form: L/L

Houston Dynamo’s form: D/W

Key Stat: New York Red Bulls are unbeaten in their last 13 home matches against Houston in all competitions.

Key Player: Sacha Klještan – The NYRB midfielder can help lead his side here after their poor start to the season. If he can get on the ball, control the game and keep things simple this weekend it will enable his teammates to regain some of their lost confidence.

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Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-1 Houston Dynamo – Red Bulls to continue their good run of form at home against Houston and pick up their first win of the season in a very competitive tie. Dynamo have conceded at least two in their last six away outings and that combined with their poor away form will likely cost them here, despite a good start to the campaign.

2016 MLS Season Preview: Houston Dynamo

As the 2016 MLS season edges closer, we’ll be publishing each team’s MLS 2016 Season Preview. Today we take a look at what Houston Dynamo will be looking to achieve this year…

Houston Dynamo’s 2015 season was essentially one of transition after their switch from the Eastern Conference to the Western. It also saw the arrival of a new head coach in the shape of Owen Coyle. There’s no denying that an eight placed finish in the Western Conference will be seen as a disappointment, but given the strength and growing competitiveness of MLS, it shouldn’t be seen as a complete failure. The 2015 campaign probably seemed like a case of déjà vu for Dynamo fans as 2014 also saw them finish eight, although they gained three more points this time around. The run to the MLS Cup Playoff Finals in 2013 will certainly seem like a distant memory now after a couple of below par campaigns.

Last season’s finish:

Western Conference – Position: 8th – P34 – W11 – D9 – L14

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What needs to change this year?

There’s two main issues that need addressing in the Houston camp. The first is their defensive record. Owen Coyle’s teams in England were renowned for grit, determination and a focus on defensive stability. It takes time for a new manager to impose his style on a team, so Coyle will be hoping he can have more of an impact this time around. The Dynamo conceded 49 goals last year, which is more than any other side in the Western Conference. The second area that desperately needs improving is their away form. Houston only picked up two wins on the road, which was also the worst record in the Western Conference – only Chicago Fire (0 away wins) had a worse record across the whole of MLS.

Key changes to squad:

Ins: Calle Brown – Goalkeeper, Bradley Bourgeois – Defender, Jalil Anibaba – Defender, Sebastien Ibeagha – Defender, Agus – Defender, Christian Lucatero – Midfielder, Cristian Maidana – Midfielder, Andrew Wenger – Midfielder, David Rocha – Midfielder & Abdoulie Mansally – Defender

Outs: Michael Lisch – Goalkeeper, AJ Cochran – Defender, Jermaine Taylor – Defender, Kofi Sarkodie – Defender, Brad Davis – Midfielder, Luis Garrido – Midfielder, Alex López – Midfielder, Nathan Sturgis – Midfielder, Chandler Hoffman – Forward

Key Player:

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Will Bruin – Forward – He’s been a mainstay in the Houston side since 2011 and has been one of their most consistent performers in that time. Bruin scored 11 goals and made four assists in 2015 and at 26 years of age, he’s at the peak of his career. It will be fundamental for the Dynamo that he continues to do his job of leading the line and bringing others into play. Any potential success could hinge on Bruin’s performances in 2016.

One to Watch:

Rob Lovejoy – Midfielder – The youngster arrived on the scene last season making a number of substitute appearances. He only made two starts in 2015, but with the departure of the hugely influential Brad Davis to Sporting Kansas City, there is a gaping hole in the Houston Dynamo midfield that is up for grabs. The likes of Rob Lovejoy will have eyes on making the position his own. 2016 could be his year.

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Predicted Finish:

Western Conference – 8th – Gaining a playoff spot will undoubtedly be the main ambition for Houston Dynamo in 2016 after two years of failing to do so. But before a ball is even kicked, it is tough to make a strong case for why they are capable of achieving that aim. There are so many strong sides in the Western Conference who are all looking to improve, which makes it so hard to break into that top six. It remains to be seen whether the squad changes will make Houston a better team and a playoff spot is of course not out of the question, given the unpredictability of MLS. But ultimately, another year of transition looks likely.

What are you expecting from Houston Dynamo in 2016?

Getting Stuck In: Why is MLS foreign to foreign coaches?

The Getting Stuck In column delves into some of the more intriguing aspects in US Soccer and MLS, shining a light on the stories regarding the league’s teams and its most-loved characters. This week Dave Lewis looks into how foreign coaches have struggled in Major League Soccer and why that might be the case.

As I sat freezing my butt off in the Nordecke section of Crew Stadium (I still refuse to call it MAPFRE Stadium) for the Eastern Conference final game against the Red Bulls, I wondered why over the years so many foreign coaches have bombed in MLS. And the first person I thought of was Ruud Gullit, the Dutch great who scored goals for the likes of PSV, AC Milan and Chelsea. If you remember, Gullit signed to manage the Galaxy in 2007 and proceeded to lay an egg. Gullit was paid a ridiculous ransom (the highest paid coach in MLS at the time) for kidnapping the Galaxy’s winning ways. He only coached for parts of two seasons and LA missed the playoffs both years, which is hard to do in the playoff-friendly MLS format. Not only did he ruin the beginning of Beckham’s MLS career, but he looked clueless when it came to tactics (didn’t practice set pieces much in training) and even dumber when it came to signing players and understanding the salary cap and draft rules.

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But the highest profile foreign coach bust has to be Carlos Alberto Parreira. The MetroStars (now the Red Bulls) hired the Brazilian World Cup winning coach to guide them in 1997… to the dumpster. His 13-19 playoff-less record didn’t get him fired (he left on his own terms) but he must’ve felt out of his depth when it came to MLS. He didn’t understand that you really need to make smart personnel decisions in MLS, not just throw any players together and call them a ‘team’.

So when I looked down the sidelines during the Eastern Conference final through my frosted over glasses, I saw two American coaches who looked right at home in MLS in Gregg Berhalter and Jesse Marsch.

Berhalter, the Crew SC head coach and technical director was the first American coach to manage in Europe when he took over at Hammarby in Sweden. (There’s a separate column for another time as to why U.S. coaches aren’t getting much of a shot in Europe; I mean c’mon, you don’t think Bob Bradley could’ve done a good job at Villa?).

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Berhalter, having played in the league, understands his limitations, and with Columbus being such a small market team and having limited off-the-field revenue streams he has to be smart (the Galaxy are in the midst of a ten-year, $44 million sponsorship deal with Herbalife, while the Crew have a much smaller five-year deal with shaving cream company Barbasol).

A foreign coach might just go for DPs left and right (see Galaxy under Gullit), but Berhalter has to be shrewd and know the American soccer landscape. His formula is to sign underappreciated foreign talent (Federico Higuain, Harrison Afful, Cedrick Mabwati and Gaston Sauro for example), blend in some established MLS players (Kei Kamara, Michael Parkhurst), sign players through the draft (Ethan Finlay) and grow players through their academy (Will Trapp). It’s a roster filled with good signings alongside good draft picks and a smart use of the Designated Player rule, using only one of their three available slots (Higuain is a modest DP and somehow Kamara isn’t one).

Currently there are only five foreign coaches in MLS with two more on the way as Patrick Vieira (NYCFC) and Veljko Paunovic (Chicago Fire) are set to enter the league in 2016. That could mean trouble, especially for NYCFC. They canned Jason Kreis, an MLS-winning American coach that knows the league like no other having scored over 100 goals in over 300 appearances with FC Dallas and RSL. His success at RSL, like Berhalter’s, was based on extreme knowledge of the league. The only reason Kreis got fired was because foreign owners didn’t understand the MLS concept fully. You need a balance of players, not three DPs, a high priced US International and a bunch of low-level talents. Kreis had no chance. So they go with Vierra, an unproven big name (only coaching experience is with the Manchester City reserves). Good luck Patrick. History is not on your side.

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One case that could go against the grain is that of Oscar Pareja’s. Pareja has done an outstanding job with FC Dallas but he played in MLS for eight years, coached the U.S. U17 team and had a stint with Colorado as their main man. Yes, he was born in Colombia, but he was very much raised in American soccer.

So could a Jose Mourinho come over here and have the same success he’s had in Europe (forget about this year’s current slump)? Well, most would think yes. But I have my doubts based on what I have discussed. I know he wouldn’t do much in his first year that’s for sure. Could you imagine him having to deal with a salary cap? The unheard of amount of travel (Seattle to Orlando is pretty far)? Or knowing how to draft college players? And what would he do when confronted with allocation rankings or the targeted allocation money rule on top of other crazy MLS nuances? He might just pack his bags and head back to London with a headache.

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Look, I think Owen Coyle at Houston will figure it out and so will Adrian Heath at Orlando because they are humble, good guys, willing to learn and embrace MLS. But neither made it to the playoffs this year. Only four foreign coaches have won the MLS Cup: Gary Smith, Thomas Rongen, Frank Yallop and Piotr Nowak. I don’t count Sigi Schmid since he moved to the U.S. from Germany when he was four years old, while Nowak and Rongen feel American since they are well-versed in American soccer with Novak having served as Bob Bradley’s assistant on the U.S. National team and Rongen spending over 35 years in the U.S. as a player and coach, most notably as the U20 U.S. coach.

So after thawing out and digesting the Crew’s 2-0 first-leg win over New York and Portland’s 3-1 win against Dallas on the same night, it looks likely that two U.S. coaches will make it to the 2015 MLS Cup Final (Berhalter vs. Porter). And if that happens, it sure won’t be very foreign to anyone, will it?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Houston Dynamo vs Sporting Kansas City

Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City

Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Wednesday, September 23 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)

Match Odds: Houston Dynamo 7/5 – Draw 5/2 – Sporting Kansas City 9/5

Match Preview

Houston Dynamo face Sporting Kansas City in a midweek clash which should be worth a watch. The two sides are playing out their third and final regular season tie against each other in the Western Conference.

Dynamo come into this one off the back of their 2-0 loss away against Philadelphia Union, their second defeat on the bounce.

They sit ninth in the Western Conference, six points outside the playoff places, so there is still a chance for them to make the cut, but they would need to win all their remaining games to realistically stand any chance.

Houston drew the earlier meeting between the two at BBVA Compass Stadium but will be hoping to take all three points in this one.

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Sporting Kansas City are sitting comfortably in fifth on 44 points and could potentially top the Western Conference if they were to win both their games in hand, so they have a lot to play for.

They come into the tie off the back of their solid 3-1 home win against FC Dallas which was their first win in five outings and they will be hoping that poor run of form doesn’t cost them.

Both the previous meetings in the season between the sides have ended in a draw. The previously mentioned draw at BBVA Compass Stadium was the eight goal thriller, as the sides shared the points in that stunning 4-4 draw back in April.

SKC will fancy their chances of winning this one and they will take confidence from the fact that their opponents have three out of their last five home games.

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Team News

Houston Dynamo coach Owen Coyle has a few injury concerns. Jermaine Taylor remains out, while DeMarcus Beasley, Alex, Kofi Sarkodie and Luis Garrido are questionable. Raul Rodriguez is suspended following his accusation of yellow cards, while Ricardo Clark and Sheanon Williams are one away from suspension.

Sporting Kansas City are without Ike Opara and Roger Espinoza. Amobi Okugo and Tim Melia are doubts. Paulo Nagamura, Benny Feilhaber and Matt Besler and all one away from suspension.

Key Points

Houston Dynamo’s last five: D/L/W/L/L

Sporting Kansas City’s last five: L/L/D/L/W

Key Stat: Sporting Kansas City are unbeaten in ten of their last 11 games against Houston Dynamo in all competitions.

Key Player: Benny Feilhaber – The Sporting KC playmaker has netted ten goals in 27 appearances this season. He has been pivotal to his side, as he has created 61 chances and notched an astonishing ten assists too.

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Score Prediction

Houston Dynamo 1-2 Sporting Kansas City – SKC to take all three points in a tight tie and continue their solid run of performances against their opponents.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer – Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Wednesday, August 26 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)

Match Odds: Colorado Rapids 1/1 – Draw 23/10 – Houston Dynamo 5/2

Match Preview

Colorado Rapids take on Houston Dynamo at the bottom of the Western Conference in one of two midweek regular season games to start Week 26’s action.

Pablo Mastroeni’s side are still stuck at the foot of the Western Conference and will see this as a chance to close the gap on the sides above them. Five points separate the two teams ahead of the game and with time running out in the regular season, getting three points has become more crucial than ever.

The Rapids come into this one off the back of a good 1-0 win against Chicago Fire last weekend, which ended their three-game losing streak. Mastroeni will be eager for his side to put together a run of positive results and back-to-back wins would be a great lift for them.

The previous regular season meeting between the sides ended as a 0-0 draw and this could be a very similar tie in terms of how closely matched the two are.

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Houston Dynamo are sitting eighth in the Western Conference and will want to push on for a playoff spot with nine games to play.

Owen Coyle’s side come into this one off the back of a 2-2 draw against Portland Timbers. He will be frustrated with that result, given that Dynamo threw away their two-goal lead away from home.

Houston’s inconsistency and poor away form suggests this one could be a real test for them as taking all three points will prove difficult.

This is a great chance for Dynamo to go on a solid run of form, as they have back-to-back home games following this fixture and still have a chance of getting that vital top six spot.

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Team News

Colorado Rapids have four injury concerns. Luis Solignac is out, while Lucas Pittinari, James Riley and Joseph Greenspan are all doubts. Sam Cronin is suspended and Rapids have Jared Watts, Axel Sjoberg and Bobby Burling all one booking away from suspension.

Houston Dynamo could be without up to five for this one. Jermaine Taylor remains out, while Ricardo Clark, DaMarcus Beasley and Raul Rodriguez are doubts. Giles Barnes is questionable but could start. Kofi Sarkodie and Sheanon Williams are both one booking away from suspension.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ last five: W/L/L/L/W

Houston Dynamo’s last five: W/D/W/L/D

Key Stat: Houston Dynamo have won just twice in 13 regular season games on the road this season.

Key Player: Will Bruin – The Dynamo forward netted his tenth goal of the season in the 2-2 draw with Portland Timbers and will be looking to cause trouble for the struggling Rapids.

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Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 1-1 Houston Dynamo – A cagey, tight tie between two sides who desperately want to move up the Western Conference.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Houston Dynamo

Competitions: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: Providence Park – Friday, August 21 – 23:00 ET (Saturday, August 22 – 04:30 BST)

Match Odds: Portland Timbers 4/6 – Draw 11/4 – Houston Dynamo 4/1

Match Preview

Portland Timbers take on Western Conference opponents Houston Dynamo on Friday night as they look to continue to keep pace in the top four.

Caleb Porter‘s side come into this one off the back of two consecutive wins, their last, a 1-0 away victory over Real Salt Lake.

The Timbers are sitting fourth in the Western Conference, four points behind leaders LA Galaxy, but Porter’s side have a game in hand and know they cannot afford to drop unnecessary points.

Timbers look to be back on track with their last two wins coming off the back of a four game winless run.

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Houston Dynamo have been in inconsistent form and as a result sit outside the playoff places in eighth.

Owen Coyle‘s side come into the game after last weekends 2-0 defeat away at New England Revolution.

They sit four points outside the playoff places, so have more than a reasonable chance of pushing themselves up the table, but they need to find a run of form.

Dynamo have four wins in their last ten Regular Season games including that impressive 3-0 victory over LA Galaxy, if they can perform like they did in that one, they have a great chance here.

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Team News

Portland have just the one injury concern coming into this one with Ben Zemanski still out. Both Liam Ridgewell and Alvas Powell are one caution away from suspension, so will need to be cautious not to pick up any silly bookings.

Houston Dynamo could be without three players. Jermaine Taylor looks set to miss out while there are doubts about Ricardo Clark and Rob Lovejoy. Kofi Sarkodie, Raul Rodriguez and Sheanon Williams are all one booking away from suspension.

Key Points

Portland Timbers’ last five in MLS: D/L/D/W/W

Houston Dynamo’s last five in MLS: L/W/D/W/L

Key Stat: Fortress – Portland Timbers have won six of their last seven home matches in MLS and kept six clean sheets in their last eight regular season ties at Providence Park.

Key Player: Fanendo Adi – The Timbers top scorer has netted ten times this season, with two in his last three games and will be looking to cause problems for Dynamo.

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Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 2-1 Houston Dynamo – Portland to continue their home form in a cagey affair.