Will Bruin is available again for the Houston Dynamo, although what his impact could be if he plays remains to be seen.
The Dynamo enjoyed a three-game unbeaten streak without their joint top goal scorer but have gone winless in their last seven with him heading into Saturday night's home matchup with the Columbus Crew.
Houston (8-6-6) went 2-0-1 last month while Bruin was with the United States national team. The Dynamo are 0-4-3 in their last seven games with the forward, who failed to score in any of those contests.
Bruin's four goals leave him tied for the team lead with Giles Barnes, who hasn't scored in his last nine matches.
It's unclear if Houston coach Dominic Kinnear will start Bruin, although his teammates are happy the star is back.
"He's been playing at a higher level and I think you'll see it in his finishing, things like that," defender Bobby Boswell told the Dynamo's official website. "We welcomed him back with open arms, it's good to have him back, he's a good player."
Houston is 0-3-6 in nine meetings with Columbus (6-10-5) over the last five seasons, including a 1-1 road draw June 1.
That streak probably doesn't mean much to the Crew after what happened to them last weekend.
Columbus will be out to end an 0-5-1 road drought after last Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Toronto FC. The Crew had been 3-0-5 in eight visits to Toronto before blowing a lead by conceding goals in the 87th minute and in stoppage time.
"We're hurt right now," forward Dominic Oduro told the Crew's official website. "When you're hurt, you try as much as possible to go out there and get as many points as you can. That's what we're going to do as a team. We have to go out and get the points."
Oduro scored his team-high ninth goal and is tied for fifth in MLS in that department.
Cam Weaver scored Houston's goal in last Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Chicago. Brad Davis, who had missed his last three matches with a hamstring injury, played 75 minutes as a substitute after Andrew Driver exited with a right Achilles injury.
Driver's status is uncertain, but Davis figures to make his first start since June 22.
Columbus is eighth in the Eastern Conference with 23 points - seven fewer than New England and Houston. Those two teams are tied for fifth, although the Dynamo have played one fewer game.
The last four Crew-Dynamo matchups have ended in draws.
Given the tight matchups in the past, the Crew believe that set pieces could be the difference Saturday with Davis and Columbus midfielder Federico Higuain among the best in MLS in dead-ball situations.
"Both teams have guys that can serve in a great ball with Davis and obviously we have Pipa (Higuain)," Columbus forward Ryan Finley said. "Both teams have some big targets. It's something we'll look at: how they run their corners and set pieces and I'm sure they'll do the same with us."
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