Kansas City, KS – Sporting Kansas City wraps up a nine-match homestand Saturday at Livestrong Sporting Park against the Houston Dynamo, who are yet to win a road game in Major League Soccer this season.
K.C. has accumulated 14 of a possible 24 points during the record home stretch and is coming off a 2-2 tie against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Monday, when the tying goal came in stoppage time from Omar Bravo.
"I think we have a pretty solid base. We just need to continue to play well at home and really put pressure on teams," said Sporting's Graham Zusi. "We need to continue to be hard to play against and hard to score against.
"I think going forward we can grow from this (Los Angeles) game."
Sporting (9-8-10) scored in the 89th minute or later to secure a draw for the fourth time in its last 10 games, and is just three points behind the Columbus Crew for first place in the Eastern Conference.
In addition, K.C. just two points ahead of the Philadelphia Union and Houston, both even on 35 points, for a top-three finish and a guaranteed playoff spot.
With the standings so tight, and fourth place not good enough to secure a spot in the postseason, K.C. coach Peter Vermes is proud of his club for claiming a share of points on all of those occasions.
"They've got unbelievable determination to get back in the game and they're not going to die and that is a quality that needs to be commended because game after game we fight for everything," Vermes said.
K.C. is 6-2-5 at home this season, as its new $200 million stadium has been an advantage for the club, and with Davy Arnaud and Jeferson among the players on the mend, a strong finish could lead Sporting into the postseason.
"To be honest its one game at a time right now, Houston is our biggest game of the season, they're right under us in the table, we get them at home and will be a good chance to gain some ground on them," K.C.'s Matt Besler said.
Houston (8-8-11) wasted a chance to move second in the standings in its recent match, a 1-0 defeat to lowly Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Long Tan scored with four minutes remaining, as the Dynamo allowed a goal in the closing stages for the fourth time this season to watch its five-game unbeaten run end.
"I will say Saturday was the angriest we've been in the locker room in a long time," Houston manager Dominic Kinnear said. "It was a missed opportunity, especially when you look at what happened on the weekend and that it was a chance to move forward."
Without a win on the road, the Dynamo will try to bounce back at K.C. Just two other clubs - Vancouver and Toronto FC - have yet to win away from home, but a win against Sporting could erase those struggles.
Houston does have eight draws in its 13 road matches, but just three squads in the history of MLS have gone winless on the road for an entire season.
"I don't think we're playing great away from home, but we're playing the game and we're creating a lot of scoring opportunities," Kinnear said.
Despite the setback, Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall knows the Kansas City match is a chance to move on.
"I don't think it's hard (to bounce back), because we can look at the way we've been playing," Hall said. "It was just one game, and it wasn't a case of putting us in or keeping us out of the playoffs."