After spending the first two months of the season playing on the road, the Houston Dynamo are excited about opening their new soccer-specific stadium.
While D.C. United will try to spoil the celebration, they haven't had much success in Houston.
The Dynamo will open BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, trying to stay unbeaten against United in Houston.
As their new venue was being completed, the Dynamo played their first seven games away from home. They went 0-3-2 to close that stretch, including a 1-0 loss to New York on Wednesday for a second straight defeat.
Tally Hall gave up a goal in the seventh minute and the Dynamo (2-3-2) put three shots on goal for a second straight game. They've had three or fewer in five games.
"It's frustrating because we're beating ourselves," Hall said. "I don't think many teams can beat us."
Houston surely is looking forward to spending some time in its new stadium. The Dynamo, who already have practiced at the $95-million venue featuring 22,000 seats, play at home in their next two games and four of five.
"When we walked out, we were all giddy," captain Brian Ching told Houston's official website following the team's workout last weekend. "The guys have a pep in their step and the organization has smiles on their faces. This is something to be proud of and this is a special day and it'll be a more special day May 12."
Ching and the Houston offense hope to get things going in front of friendly fans. The Dynamo have been limited to seven goals as Ching, who led the team with six goals in 24 games in 2011, scored only one. He has attempted just five shots in six matches.
Ching should be well-rested after sitting out Wednesday's game, although he was held without a shot in a 3-2 loss to D.C. on April 28.
Brad Davis was limited to a substitute role in that defeat because of a calf injury but was back in the starting lineup against New York and had a team-high four shots. Will Bruin had scored four goals in three games before going without one Wednesday.
United (5-3-3) will try dampen the enthusiasm. They're looking for a fourth win in five games but will have to hope the new stadium brings better results than the last one. They're 0-5-1 all-time in Houston, getting outscored 12-4.
D.C. has allowed 15 goals, tied for third-most in MLS, but is coming off a 2-0 victory over winless Toronto last Saturday. Chris Pontius and Hamdi Salihi scored for United, who blanked an opponent for the first time since April 7 against Seattle.
Injuries have been one reason for the porous defense. Emiliano Dudar (hamstring) has sat out five games and Dejan Jakovic (ankle) has missed seven. Fellow defender Robbie Russell also sat out last Saturday because of minutes accumulated.
The lack of options forced United to switch up positions and they may have to do the same this weekend with Dudar out and Jakovic questionable.
"Every last player was first class," Bill Hamid told United's official website after making four saves in his second start of the season.
"It was a makeshift back line because this is a tough stretch of games, but we have faith in every single player on this team."
- Houston Dynamo