Without their top scorer, the Philadelphia Union look to maintain their potent attack while extending their best unbeaten streak in two seasons.
The Union will attempt to stretch their league run to six matches without a loss Saturday night when they visit the Houston Dynamo, winless in seven straight.
Although 10-goal striker Jack McInerney is away on Gold Cup duty with the U.S. national team, Philadelphia (7-5-6) proved it's capable of finding the back of the net without him in a 2-all draw at Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.
Conor Casey and Sebastien Le Toux scored for the Union, whose 29 goals trail only the Montreal Impact. Casey has four goals over his last four matches, while Le Toux has produced two goals and five assists in his last eight.
"I think they've got a pretty dynamic attack," Houston defender Bobby Boswell told the team's official website. "Conor's starting to score some goals, Sebastien's always a handful. They've got a bunch of young eager guys and young eager guys are always dangerous because they're trying to impress."
The Union, who have 10 goals over their last four games, are 2-0-3 during their longest unbeaten streak since an eight-game run from Sept. 7 - Oct. 15, 2011. They're tied for third in the Eastern Conference with 27 points but have thrown away four points in excruciating fashion the last two matches - conceding a goal in the 97th minute to FC Dallas in a 2-all draw and a penalty kick in the 96th minute versus RSL.
"I feel that we deserved more than one point but that means the ball bounced the wrong way and they got that penalty at the end," midfielder Danny Cruz told the team's official website. "We are not happy with the draw by any means but if you ask people 'If you drew at Salt Lake, how would you feel?,' most people would say pretty good."
Despite being outscored 9-2 while going 0-4-3 over its last seven matches, Houston (6-6-5) is only four points behind Philadelphia in the bunched-up East.
The Dynamo have struggled on the attack throughout their slide, failing to score for the third straight game in a 2-0 loss at New York on Sunday. After totaling 17 goals during a 6-2-2 start, they've been shut out in five matches during their winless spell.
"We're just making too many mistakes and those mistakes punish you," coach Dominic Kinnear said. "Overall, our play has been good, but sometimes it comes down to what you're doing in both boxes. You go through things like this in the MLS, but just because you've done it before doesn't mean I'm not worried and upset."
Making matters worse, Will Bruin is also playing for the U.S. in the Gold Cup, and Brad Davis is doubtful due to a hamstring injury. Bruin and Davis have combined for seven of the team's 21 goals.
Following a record 30-match undefeated regular-season MLS run at home, the Dynamo have gone 0-2-1 in their last three league games there. They've won three straight at home against the Union and four of five overall.
Boniek Garcia has played a key role, scoring in each of the last two meetings. The midfielder, though, hasn't played since May 26 partly due to a hamstring injury suffered while with Honduras during World Cup qualifying.
The Dynamo will try to avoid their worst drought since a 10-game winless stretch from May 29 - Aug. 14, 2010.
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- Houston Dynamo
- Sebastien Le Toux
- Philadelphia Union