New England hopes to blank offensively-challenged Houston

A pair of mid-table sides square off at Gillette Stadium on Saturday as the Houston Dynamo tangles with the New England Revolution.

The two sides are separated by only two points in the middle of the Eastern Conference, with Houston sitting in the fifth and final playoff spot, while the Revs reside just outside the postseason picture.

Houston snapped a seven-match winless run with a 1-0 win over Philadelphia last time out, and the lone goal, scored by Ricardo Clark, ended a franchise- record goalless drought of 388 minutes.

"We know what's been going on," said Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear. "We have been peppered with questions over the last couple weeks about not winning. This is a proud group, and we get a little annoyed by it ... Any time you win whether it is a great win or the team's played poorly and you get a little lucky, you walk off the field with a little enjoyment out of it."

Kinnear will be hoping to leave the field on Saturday with a similar feeling, and he must do so without the services of both Will Bruin and Corey Ashe, who are away on international duty.

Bruin is tied for the team lead with four goals this season, while Ashe has started 17 of Houston's 18 games this year.

In place of Bruin, Kinnear will have the services of Boniek Garcia, who returned to play 90 minutes last weekend after missing the previous four contests through injury.

Garcia has yet to score in 10 games this season, but he thinks he will be able to contribute more if he is able to find a rhythm.

"From a footballing standpoint I think I really brought something to the game," Garcia said after the Union match. "Without being able to be in the team it's hard to grab a rhythm."

Houston will be trying to get on track offensively, but might have a tough time against a stout New England defense, especially at Gillette Stadium.

The Revs have kept four successive clean sheets at home, which spans 395 minutes, and head coach Jay Heaps feels his side is in a good position to continue that streak.

"It's not any different on the road or at home in terms of our preparation, but there's a good feel," Heaps said. "I think there's a good chemistry going on right now with our back line when we get the four guys that have been playing a lot together with Jose (Goncalves) and Stephen (McCarthy) in the middle working together."

Saer Sene helped provide the offense in a 2-0 New England win last weekend as he scored on a long-range effort, while Lee Nguyen set up both goals to give him his first two-assist game in MLS.