The Houston Dynamo are mired in their longest losing and goalless streaks in MLS play in franchise history.
Turning those woes around against a New York Red Bulls team that hammered them earlier this season figures to be unlikely.
The Dynamo will try to snap a five-game slide Friday night when they host the Red Bulls, who have been dominant in a five-match regular-season win streak in this series.
Houston (5-10-2) has been outscored 13-0 during the losing streak and enters this contest with no goals over its last 479 minutes.
"It's the way things are going," coach Dominic Kinnear said.
The Dynamo's minus-16 goal differential is the league's worst. No player has scored since Giles Barnes in the 61st minute of a 1-0 win over Los Angeles on May 17.
Kinnear has a simple answer as to how to solve his team's problems.
"Win a game," Kinnear said. "It gives you confidence."
Despite all its doom and gloom, Houston can actually leapfrog New York (4-5-7) in the Eastern Conference with a victory.
The Red Bulls present a challenge with an attack spearheaded by stars Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill along with MLS leading scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips, who has 12 goals. Wright-Phillips had his first career hat trick with Henry contributing the other goal in a 4-0 rout of Houston on April 23.
That outburst for Wright-Phillips started a surge in which he has 11 goals in nine games.
The Red Bulls have outscored the Dynamo 15-1 in the last five regular-season matchups although they were beaten 4-3 on aggregate over two legs in last year's playoffs. That postseason series is what New York has in mind headed into this contest.
"Houston's a very dangerous team," coach Mike Petke said. "They're very good going forward, they like to push the issue, they like to counter, they've got wing play. It's going to be a tough game. We just have to stick with the game plan that we're laying out there and I think that we'll be OK."
The Red Bulls have sandwiched two draws around a victory over their last three games. Wright-Phillips came through last Friday with a goal in the 93rd minute off a header by Cahill as New York salvaged a 2-2 home draw with Toronto FC.
Cahill entered in the 78th minute. He traveled back to New York after excelling in the World Cup with two goals for Australia, and could be back in the starting lineup Friday.
"I suppose it's tough to an extent, but it's something I've done my whole career," he said. "I think the best thing, more than anything, was my decision to come to the MLS, to play internationally in my third World Cup, and the calculated decision being great domestically."
It's unclear if Brad Davis will be available for the Dynamo. The midfielder made one start in his lone appearance for the United States at the World Cup.
- Sports & Recreation
- Houston Dynamo
- New York Red Bulls
- Dominic Kinnear