Houston, TX – The Houston Dynamo will continue their drive for a playoff berth on Saturday when last season's MLS Cup finalists host Chivas USA at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Houston came into last week's critical Eastern Conference showdown against the Philadelphia Union in poor form having been winless in four straight league games and on the outside of the playoff picture.
But in a hostile environment in Philadelphia, Houston's veteran experience shined as the club pulled out a 1-0 victory over the Union to leap into fifth place in the East with 40 points.
Philadelphia had the better of the play early on and appeared to open the scoring in the 31st minute when Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall badly misjudged the flight of a Keon Daniel free kick and it soared into the top corner.
But the goal was waived off as the assistant referee flagged Union defender Amobi Okugo for offside.
Houston then grabbed the momentum in the second half with some set piece magic in the 51st minute when Brad Davis whipped a free kick into the box where Ricardo Clark was there to nod it home for the only goal of the match.
"Things haven't been going the way we wanted, but we had a talk this week about how we need to stay together and stay as a unit," Davis said. "Tonight was a perfect example of that, grinding out a win."
"It was one of those nights where the game, wasn't perfect, but you have 10 other guys watching your back and that's what a team effort is," said Hall. "We definitely took a couple of punches the last couple of weeks. It's about how you respond, and I think we responded very well to the situation when we needed to."
Chivas USA, meanwhile, is coming off a 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers last week which saw the side improve to 26 points from 29 matches played.
The Goats opened the scoring in the 23rd minute through a Bryan de la Fuente goal, but Portland answered back with a second-half strike from substitute Diego Valeri.
But Chivas head coach Jose Luis Real praised him team's performance:
"In my opinion it has been a game of more quality. Perhaps we have played other games with a lot of effort, or only with effort, and that has just been enough to have tied some games. But today I think the two teams had a game of quality, it was a game of great effort, it was the most complete game and I'm happy because despite that we didn't win, we played a rival who is one of the strongest and I feel happy, not satisfied because we had the opportunity to win it, but we need to recognize we had a great team in front of us."
In 17 all-time matchups between the clubs, Houston holds a comfortable 10-2-5 edge, including a 1-0 win against the Goats earlier this season.