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Crew-Dynamo Preview

By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN

STATS Senior Writer

(AP) -- The Houston Dynamo have not beaten the Columbus Crew in more than four years, but have to like their chances of ending that drought at their brand-new BBVA Compass Stadium.

The Dynamo are one of two unbeaten home teams in MLS heading into Sunday night's matchup with the Crew, who could debut Designated Player Federico Higuain.

Houston (11-6-7) is 0-3-4 against Columbus (8-8-5) since a 2-0 victory Aug. 2, 2008. These teams played to a 2-2 draw in Ohio on April 21.

The Dynamo, however, have never lost at their new stadium, going 8-0-3 to match New York for the league's best home record this season. Houston has outscored foes 11-1 during a four-game home win streak.

Midfielder Ricardo Clark, recently re-acquired by the Dynamo, is eager to play his first game in the new stadium. Clark began his second stint with Houston by logging 15 minutes in last Friday's 2-0 road loss to the Red Bulls. He could be in line for his first start.

"I'm looking forward to it," Clark told the Dynamo's official website. "I want to come back to a new stadium and it's not that bad of a return. I'm just looking forward to it and am hoping we get a good result."

Houston had its five-game win streak snapped last Friday. The Dynamo had conceded only one goal over their previous seven matches.

The end of the streak hasn't dented Houston's belief it can finish atop the tightly packed Eastern Conference.

"Early on in the season we weren't winning every game, but we stayed confident and then we got on a roll," forward Will Bruin said. "We're not losing confidence, we know we're a good team and have good players and can make our goal."

The Crew are eager to see how the 27-year-old Higuain will help their attack. The Argentine forward finally got to Columbus on Wednesday after immigration issues delayed his arrival after he signed with the club July 27.

"We are happy that we could bring in a player of the caliber that Federico is," coach Robert Warzycha told the Crew's official website. "He brings a lot of speed. He's very technically sound. He can set up other players and also score goals. He's going to be a perfect fit for us."

Higuain will eventually partner with Costa Rican striker Jairo Arrieta up front. Arrieta has three goals in five games since joining the Crew, with all coming in his last three contests.

"I feel more comfortable," Arrieta said. "Scoring goals gives more confidence. As a forward, you want to be able to help the team and score more goals."

Arrieta had the lone Columbus goal Wednesday in a 1-1 home draw with Los Angeles in the Crew's first game since the death of 22-year-old midfielder Kirk Urso on Aug. 5.

"We talked about focusing on the game and that it will be something we won't forget," Warzycha said. "Obviously, the three points were not the most important thing today. I think there was a bigger thing we were playing for."

Updated August 18, 2012

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