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The Houston Dynamo have had some time to move on from their first defeat of the season. A visit from the suddenly struggling Columbus Crew could help them bounce back.
Looking to get back on track, the Dynamo try to extend the visiting Crew's season-high losing streak to four games Saturday night.
There was plenty of hype surrounding Houston's match against the Los Angeles Galaxy on April 19, and the game lived up to it for the most part. Alberth Elis' successful penalty kick in the 53rd minute equalized for the Dynamo (4-1-1), but Diago Polenta's strike on 88 minutes put the Galaxy ahead for good and ended the visitor's perfect unbeaten form to start the season.
Though the result was disappointing, Houston is still off to the club's best-ever six-game start, and coach Wilmer Cabrera is feeling good about the state of the club.
"We played well, we played solid," Cabrera told the Dynamo's official website. "Now, it's just moving forward, but I'm happy (with) the performance and the personality we've shown.
"We know why we lost … (We have to understand) that we have to grab the good things that we did and need to improve on set pieces. We need to improve on the lack of concentration that can affect us."
The Dynamo return home in better shape than Columbus (4-4-1), which has managed one goal during a three-game losing streak that's followed a 4-1-1 stretch during which they totaled seven but still prevailed most of the time. Perhaps more concerning for the Crew is that their last two defeats - 3-1 to Portland last Saturday and 1-0 against D.C. United on Wednesday - both came at home.
However, the bottom line for Columbus is finding the back of the net while trying to avoid losing four in a row for the first time since 2009.
"You can't win unless you're scoring goals and we're there, we're there to score the goals," coach Caleb Porter told Columbus' official website.
"We got to keep going. This is a long season and there are going to be ups and downs, and we are in a down moment right now in terms of results. I think we're still breaking through and becoming the team we want to be, it's just not showing up in the results. But in the play, in a lot of ways, it is."
Columbus has also struggled to generate a victory at Houston, where it's 1-5-6 since 2006. The Crew, however, did win the lone 2018 meeting between the clubs, 1-0 in August on Gyasi Zardes' goal in the first minute of second-half stoppage time.
Updated April 25, 2019