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D.C. United-Dynamo Preview
D.C. United should feel good about things as it concludes a stretch of three games in seven days.
Visiting United aims to extend its undefeated run to four games Saturday night against a Houston Dynamo side that's trying to avoid going winless in their third consecutive match.
Amid a 2-0-1 stretch, D.C. (7-3-3) currently sits atop the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of surging Philadelphia. United began this busy span with a 1-0 home victory over Sporting Kansas on Sunday, then seemed more than happy to settle for a point in a scoreless draw at Toronto FC on Wednesday.
Big names Wayne Rooney, Luciano Acosta and Paul Arriola all featured as substitutes and Lucas Rodriguez didn't even play against Toronto, which posted 13 of its 35 shots on target. However, D.C.'s defense and keeper Bill Hamid (12 saves) were more than up to the task while recording a seventh clean sheet on the season.
"I think before the game with the changes we made, we would have (taken) a point," Rooney, who has scored just two of his team-leading six goals in his last eight contests, told United's official website. "And then we kept a few players fresh for Saturday, which at this point, it only becomes a good point if we take three on Saturday."
D.C., 3-1-2 on the road this season, has not won in its last four meetings with Houston (6-2-2), but earned a draw in three of those contests. Including 0-0 in the most recent get-together in Texas in June 2016.
For the first time in 2019, the Dynamo have gone back-to-back games minus a victory. They fell 1-0 at Seattle last Saturday, then played Portland to a 1-1 home draw on Wednesday. Mauro Manotas opened the scoring in the 40th minute, but the Timbers equalized on newcomer Brian Fernandez's goal in the 77th.
"We created more chances, but we couldn't finish and they stole one point and we lost the points at home," Houston coach Wilmer Cabrera told the MLS official website. "It wasn't our best performance, but we were solid and I think we were trying to find the second goal. We couldn't find it."
Manotas has recorded four of his team-leading six goals over a four-game stretch. He's also posted a goal in two consecutive matches against D.C. United.
D.C.'s Acosta has three goals on the season, and scored the equalizer in second-half stoppage time for a 2-2 draw against Houston in the teams' lone 2018 meeting.
Updated May 16, 2019