On the verge of their worst single-season losing streak in three years, the New York Red Bulls appear to have a decent change to regroup against a team they've never lost to at home.
The Red Bulls try to avoid dropping three consecutive MLS matches for the first time since a four-game skid from May 8-29, 2010 on Sunday when they host a Houston Dynamo team that's winless in six straight league matches.
Following an eight-game unbeaten stretch across all competitions, New York (7-6-4) dropped its second straight league match in a 3-0 loss at Philadelphia last Sunday.
The Red Bulls also suffered a 4-2 defeat at New England in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup on June 12, giving them three straight losses overall.
"We're looking to get back to what got us through the unbeaten run," New York coach Mike Petke said. "The positive side is that we haven't played close to what we can and find ourselves in second place still, just half way through the season."
The Red Bulls haven't played to their potential defensively of late, giving up seven goals in their last three league matches after yielding four over their previous six contests.
New York, though, may be able to tighten things up against the Dynamo (6-5-5), who have had a difficult time scoring throughout their winless drought.
Since totaling 17 goals during a 6-2-2 start, Houston has scored twice while going 0-3-3 in its last six MLS matches. The Dynamo were shut out for the fourth time over that span June 22 in a scoreless draw with Toronto FC.
Despite its struggles, Houston sits just two points behind the Red Bulls in the bunched-up Eastern Conference race.
"It helps to have a veteran team that's motivated to do better," coach Dominic Kinnear told the team's official website. "I think that's what we have. As a whole, as a staff and as a team we're not happy right now because you want to win."
Midfielders Warren Creavalle and Brad Davis have accounted for the only goals during the team's slide. Davis, however, is uncertain to play after suffering a hamstring injury in practice.
Teammate Boniek Garcia could return to the lineup after missing three league matches, partly due to a hamstring injury suffered while with Honduras during World Cup qualifying.
The Dynamo hope to end their worst winless streak since a seven-game stretch in 2011, though they haven't had any success at New York. Houston has been outscored 12-4 while getting just three draws in eight all-time matches there.
Midfielder Tim Cahill had two assists in New York's 2-0 home win over the Dynamo on Aug. 10 . He's expected to be back for this contest after suffering a groin injury and dealing with a family emergency while playing for Australia in the World Cup qualifying tournament.
Captain Thierry Henry, who leads New York with six goals, has three assists in four career matches versus Houston.