Foxborough, MA – The New England Revolution and Houston Dynamo will renew their rivalry on Saturday at Gillette Stadium with the two sides currently sitting in the middle of the Eastern Conference table.
The Revs and Dynamo squared off in back-to-back MLS Cup finals, and although there won't be quite as much on the line in Saturday's contest, both sides will be attempting to build on good results recently.
New England won for the second time in three games last weekend by handing Vancouver Whitecaps FC a heavy 4-1 defeat, while the Dynamo collected four points from its first two matches at its new ground, BBVA Compass Stadium.
Lee Nguyen netted two goals in the win for the Revs against his former side, Vancouver, which waived Nguyen shortly before the start of the season.
"I wouldn't say revenge. I'm just relieved," said Nguyen following the match. "I'm just happy we got the win. The way it ended up I couldn't have dreamt it any better. I'm just glad for my teammates, we worked hard and we didn't give up after that first goal. It was a great win."
Vancouver went in front through Eric Hassli, but the Revs responded with four unanswered goals as the club began a string of seven homes games in nine matches.
"It felt good to get the win and get three points," Revolution defender A.J. Soares said. "We've shown that we're a tough team to play at home and that's what we want. We still have stuff we need to tighten up, though. We're not satisfied with the game. We're happy with the result and the three points, but we're really looking at it [and saying] that we need to learn from it."
Houston is in a stretch of three games in one week as the Dynamo opened its new stadium with a 1-0 victory over D.C. United, followed by a 0-0 draw against the Portland Timbers.
One of the keys to Saturday's match for Houston could be whether or not the Dynamo is able to get off to a good start, something that has been an issue for the club so far this season.
Houston has scored just twice in the first half this campaign, while New England has proven to be much better in the first 45 minutes, scoring 10 of its 12 goals in the opening frame.
The Dynamo has netted just one goal in its last three games, but has still managed to earn four points, which speaks to the club's strength in defense.
"It's always a process of getting better and better and when we don't hurt ourselves then it's difficult to beat us," Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall said. "I think the last couple of games have been a good example of us being organized and playing well and we're a difficult team to score on."
Difficult to score on, yes, but Houston must find someone who can put the ball in the net to have a chance at climbing up the Eastern Conference.
On Saturday, that man might be Brian Ching, who has scored eight goals against New England during his MLS career.