The Houston Dynamo will have their impressive home unbeaten streak in MLS regular season play tested when they host Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday.
Houston comes into the match riding a 26-match unbeaten run in regular season home matches, three shy of the record set by Real Salt Lake (June 6, 2009 - May 14, 2011).
Led by Dominic Kinnear, Houston has pieced together a strong resume in recent seasons. With such dominant home form, the Dynamo have made it to back-to-back MLS Cup title matches, losing to the Los Angeles Galaxy on both occasions.
"There are good moments and bad moments whether it's the first game or second or 28th game," Kinnear said. "You've just got to try and keep confidence in yourself and each other and that's what makes for a good team."
The Dynamo will be slightly depleted for Saturday's tilt with Brad David, Jermaine Taylor and Boniek Garcia away on international duty for their respective countries. Will Bruin is also likely to miss the clash through injury.
"It's going to be a difficult game, we're missing some of our key guys, Jermaine and Boniek, and Will going down with an injury - but having said that this team's always gotten on with call-ups and things in the past," said Brian Ching. "This is a chance for these guys to step in and compete for starting spots. Dom brought them in to play, not to sit on the bench and be back-ups."
Those replacements are set for a tough encounter as the Dynamo take on a Whitecaps team that has taken six points from their two matches this season.
Vancouver is coming off of a 2-1 defeat of the Columbus Crew last weekend, a match that saw the 'Caps create plenty of scoring opportunities, much to head coach Martin Rennie's pleasure.
"It was definitely more chances created than ever since I've been coach here which is an encouraging sign because first we tried to do initially is make our team solid defensively and then improving our possession, because of our possession being better we created more chances," said Rennie. "That's what we want to be doing but we also want to be taking those chances and putting a flair reflection on the score."
Vancouver's winner from that match came via Kenny Miller, who scored just two goals in 13 league appearances last term. Getting Miller off the mark with his first goal of the new season certainly bodes well for the Whitecaps.
"It's always nice to go off the mark as a striker," said Miller. "You're always going to be judged on goals.
"But again, I said before, more importantly two home games at the start of the season was an opportunity to put some early points on the board; maximum points for us, it's a delight to see that."