Houston Dynamo FC Open Two-Game Road Trip and Dynamo 2 Seek Playoff Berth
HOUSTON - Houston Dynamo FC hit the road to face Sporting Kansas City for the third time this year, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT at Children's Mercy Park. Houston Dynamo 2 will close the regular season on the road against LA Galaxy II on Sunday, Sept. 24 at 4 p.m. CT, and the match will stream live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.
DYNAMO OPEN TWO-GAME ROAD TRIP IN KANSAS CITY
Houston enters Saturday's match after defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC 4-1 at Shell Energy Stadium on Wednesday evening. Captain Hector Herrera opened the scoring in the 13th minute after his free kick attempt from just outside the penalty box deflected into the back of the net off the Vancouver wall. Defender Griffin Dorsey doubled Houston's lead in the 44th minute, charging into the box from the right side, threading a strike between defenders into the top far corner of the net. Houston sealed the result in the second half with a diving header from forward Ivan Franco in the 73rd minute and a tap-in goal inside the six-yard box from forward Aliyu Ibrahim in the 84th minute. Notably, defender Teenage Hadebe made his first league appearance for the Dynamo since April 22 after recovering from a leg injury.
Houston is now undefeated in its last seven league matches since July 15, reaching that milestone for the first time since August 2012. The Dynamo currently sit fourth in the Western Conference standings, the first time the Club has been inside the conference's top-five through at least 25 games since 2017.
Kansas City enter Saturday's match three points outside of the playoff line, sitting 11th in the Western Conference. Sporting's most recent result saw them fall 3-0 at home to Leagues Cup finalists Nashville SC after Fafa Picault, Hany Mukhtar and Jack Maher scored for the visitors.
In the storied history between the two clubs, the Dynamo hold a 20-18-17 (WLD) record over Sporting in all competitions. The teams have already met twice at Shell Energy Stadium this year. In the first match, Houston defeating Kansas City 1-0 in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 32 despite going down to 10 men in the 35th minute. The second match ended in a 2-2 draw thanks to a stoppage time equalizer from Franco.
The Dynamo next travel to South Florida to take on Lionel Messi and Inter Miami CF in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday, Sept. 27, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT.
DYNAMO 2 CLOSE OUT REGULAR SEASON
Houston Dynamo 2 will hit the road for Decision Day with the opportunity to clinch a second consecutive appearance in the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs. Dynamo 2 enter Sunday's road match in eighth place in the Western Conference and face an LA Galaxy II squad keen on closing the season with three points.
There are three scenarios in which Dynamo Dos can advance to the post season. The first being Houston winning in regulation and a Minnesota United loss in regulation. Dynamo Dos can also advance with a victory in regulation over LA and Earthquakes II earning one point or less. Finally, Dynamo Dos can advance with a shootout victory over Galaxy II and an Earthquakes II loss in regulation.
Dynamo Dos closed out the home slate of the regular season on Sunday, Sept. 17 against in-state rival North Texas SC. Dynamo Dos forward Papa Ndoye scored his career high 13th goal of the regular season in the 29th minute of the match to give Houston the early lead.
Closely following Ndoye on the score sheet is midfielder Diego Gonzalez who has scored 10 goals this season - also a career high for the Houston Dynamo Academy product. Gonzalez has become a key figure for Houston Dynamo 2, playing in all but one game this season. Dynamo Dos holds a 9-0-1 (WLD) record when Gonzalez scores.
Galaxy II enters Sunday's match having already being eliminated from playoff contention after a 5-16-6 (WLD) record through 27 games. Galaxy II sits at the bottom of the standings and has allowed 72 goals this season and currently have a goal differential of negative 37.
Here are three key points ahead of both matches this weekend:â¯â¯â¯
REINFORCEMENTS RETURN: After serving one-game suspensions for yellow card accumulation during Wednesday's match, both midfielder Adalberto "Coco" Carrasquilla and defender Franco Escobar will be available for selection by head coach Ben Olsen on Saturday in Kansas City. Carrasquilla has had a breakout year in 2023, playing a key role in Houston's midfield while tallying two goals and five assists. The Panamanian international was named Player of the Tournament in this year's Gold Cup and recently returned from international duty where he helped his country earned four points in Concacaf Nation's League play. Escobar has also been a steady starter on Houston's backline on a defense that has recorded 13 clean sheets this season, helping goalkeeper Steve Clark tally 12, which is good for second best in MLS.
SENSATIONAL SCORELINES: Since returning to MLS play after Leagues Cup on Aug. 20, Houston has outscored opponents 18-3 in all competitions. In that stretch, 12 different players have found the back of the net, and 14 of the 18 goals have been assisted. Forward Corey Baird has scored four times in that stretch and is now one goal away from tying his season career-high of eight goals during his rookie season, while totaling a team-leading 12 goals in all competitions this year. Captain Hector Herrera has also recorded five assists and two goals in that span, and the Mexican international's 14 MLS assists are tied for second most this season. The Dynamo will look to continue that form as the team makes a push for its first playoff appearance since 2017.
HOW THEY WERE SCORED: This season, Houston Dynamo 2 had goals scored by 14 different players from all three position groups on the field. Ndoye and Gonzalez have combined for 23 of Houston's 48 goals scored this season. Newcomers Isaiah Reid and Yair Gonzalez have scored a combined nine goals in their first season with Houston Dynamo 2.
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MLS NEXT Pro Stories from September 22, 2023
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