Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Seattle Sounders FC will be trying to bring an end to a poor run of form on Sunday when the club welcomes the Houston Dynamo to CenturyLink Field.
Seattle surged to the top of the Western Conference and opened a gap as wide as 10 points at the summit.
However, Sigi Schmid's men have come back to reality a bit in recent weeks, losing three of their last four contests to sit just two points clear of second-place Real Salt Lake entering the weekend.
Houston has struggled for much of the season and the club dropped down the Eastern Conference table after an eight-game winless streak.
But that woeful run came to an end last weekend with a 1-0 win over D.C. United that has Houston hoping for another second-half surge.
The Dynamo has become known as a team that really turns it on in the final few months of the season, and with Houston sitting five points out of a playoff spot in the East, now would be a good time for things to come together.
Houston's win over United came after Will Bruin scored the lone goal of the match in stoppage time, and the team's captain, Brad Davis, was pleased to see his side put in a full 90-minute performance.
"It's been the message that's been sent for a while now," Davis said about playing a complete 90 minutes. "I don't know why we would go out on the field without the utmost confidence. I think Sunday was a game for us to build off. There's no reason for us now to step on the field and lower that level of play."
Another thing that should help Houston is the arrival of United States international DaMarcus Beasley, who made his debut in Sunday's win.
Along with Luis Garrido, who is another new addition, Beasley's arrival creates more competition for places in the team, and Davis thinks that will be another thing that benefits the club.
"When you also start to bring in competition for some spots it also raises some eyebrows," Davis said. "It gets competition going and some blood boiling. You start to peek over your shoulder as well all the time now. It's always a good thing, competition in training, competitions for spots on the weekend."
While Houston is hopeful of going in the right direction, Seattle would love to halt its current skid on Sunday and get back to winning ways.
The Sounders suffered a second straight defeat last time out, losing 1-0 to San Jose on a 42nd-minute goal from Yannick Djalo.
Seattle certainly had chances in the game, but San Jose made the most of a chance in transition to punish the Sounders, costing them any points.
Despite his team's struggles, Seattle forward Clint Dempsey doesn't seem to be too concerned with the level of play, and he chose to look at the positive things his team did against the Earthquakes.
"We're getting good looks. We just have to do a better job of finishing our chances," Dempsey said after the loss. "I think at times tonight you saw us playing a good style. We were moving the ball around. We had some good link-up play. We just have to do a better job in transition play."
Seattle will travel to Real Salt Lake next weekend, and if things don't go well on Sunday, the Sounders could find themselves looking up at Salt Lake when the teams square off next weekend.