Chester, PA – The Houston Dynamo have just one win in their last six MLS matches, but need full points on Sunday against the Philadelphia Union to remain in good shape in the tight Eastern Conference playoff race.
Houston reached the MLS Cup last season, a 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy, and is fifth in the standings - the top five advance to the postseason - with just five matches remaining in the regular season.
The Dynamo have two losses and three draws over their last six league matches, but will try to carry momentum from an impressive 4-0 win over FAS in CONCACAF Champions League play into the league match at PPL Park this weekend.
Recently-signed Giles Barnes scored and Cam Weaver had a goal and two assists, as Houston remained in control of its own destiny in the Champions League with the impressive win Thursday.
Houston (12-7-10) also controls its own destiny in the league, but that could end this weekend without a win against Philadelphia (7-14-6).
The Dynamo hold just a one-point cushion over the Columbus Crew for the final spot from the East, but are also within four points of second.
With a favorable schedule remaining, including its next three matches at home, Houston could easily climb much higher in the final regular-season standings.
Houston saw D.C. United get a win at PPL Park against Philadelphia on Thursday night, and will hope to added another home loss for the Union. The Dynamo tied Sporting Kansas City, 1-1, in their last league match.
"I think we showed good spirit and a lot of fight," said Dynamo defender Corey Ashe. "If we have that attitude for the remaining five games of the season, we will go far in the playoffs."
Philadelphia is winless in eight straight matches and, although it could still qualify for the playoffs, will try to prevent a slide to the foot of the table over the remainder of the season.
Just one place off the bottom, the Union hold a five-point cushion on Toronto FC and have played two fewer matches. But Philadelphia needs to pick up a few more wins, or it could be in danger of ending with the worst record.
One year after making the playoffs, that would be a disaster for the Union.
"We had a little mini run there in middle of the season when we were scoring a lot of goals and things were going well. We took kind of a step back as far as finishing goals. But stuff happens," Union attacker Freddy Adu said.
"We're going to keep fighting it and hopefully the floodgates open."