Dynamo-United Preview

The Associated Press

The Houston Dynamo began a challenging stretch in strong fashion, putting their road slump to rest. D.C. United are in the midst of their worst losing streak in three years.

The Dynamo will try to extend the best start in franchise history Wednesday night as they visit United, who seek to avenge a 2-0 loss in Houston on March 2 in the season opener.

This will be the second of three games in eight days for the Dynamo, who started the stretch with a 1-0 win at Los Angeles on Sunday on Andrew Driver's goal in the 56th minute. Houston had gone seven road matches without a win.

The Dynamo (5-2-2) pushed their point total to 17 for the best nine-match start in franchise history. They'll finish the week with a home contest Sunday against Sporting Kansas City, one of three teams Houston is tied with atop the Eastern Conference.

"Seasons aren't made this early but when you are facing three games in a week it becomes an opportunity," said goaltender Tally Hall, who stopped Landon Donovan's penalty kick in the 24th minute against the Galaxy. "We could collect some serious points and having the first two on the road, it's a difficult challenge but now we've set ourselves up to have a really positive week."

With the worst record in the league at 1-6-1, D.C. hasn't played since a 3-0 loss at Columbus on April 27 that gave it five straight defeats for the first time since 2010. United have been outscored 11-3 during the skid, getting shut out in three of the last four and dropping three in a row at home.

D.C. went 12-1-6 at RFK Stadium in 2012.

The 11-day layoff between games should benefit United in the way of a healthier squad. Chris Pontius - who led the team with 12 goals last year - missed the last match due to a groin injury but could return Wednesday.

Midfielder Nick DeLeon is expected back after missing four straight matches with a hamstring injury. DeLeon was the runner up for MLS Rookie of the Year last season after tallying eight goals and four assists in 32 matches.

"It's always nice to see some fresh faces coming back out to training when you're going through a tough stretch with injuries," coach Ben Olsen told the team's official website.

The Dynamo own a 13-4-3 edge over United in all competitions, outscoring them 10-2 in the last four meetings and going 4-0-1 in the past five. Houston, though, is 0-1-2 in the last three at D.C.