A winless streak has pushed the Houston Dynamo outside the playoff bubble, but they hope a return to South Texas could be the spark that gets them back on track.
The Dynamo seek their first victory since mid-August when they host the LA Galaxy on Wednesday night at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Houston (10-10-9) and San Jose each have 39 points. However, the Earthquakes hold the final playoff position in the Western Conference because they own one more victory. The Dynamo, though, have a game in hand and play four of their final five matches at home, where they are 9-1-3.
Since defeating San Jose 3-0 on Aug. 12, Houston has gone 0-3-2, including a shutout loss to home to league-worst Colorado on Sept. 9 — the Dynamo’s only home setback this year — and a 1-1 draw Sunday with New York City FC in a match relocated to East Hartford, Conn., because of a scheduling issue.
Goalkeeper Tyler Deric told the Houston Chronicle that playing in front of a partisan crowd will help, but only so much against a hungry team.
“It is important to realize what can happen at home,” he said. “Just because you have a home game does not mean we are going to walk through teams. We are going to compete. LA Galaxy is playing for a playoff spot. Mathematically, they are not out of it, so they are going to come with everything they have to get all three points.”
While the Galaxy (7-17-6) technically are alive in the postseason race, they would need a lot of help to get into the top six. LA has the second-fewest points in MLS and needs to win out while Dallas, Houston and San Jose lose all their remaining matches. Plus, there is a minus-21 goal differential to make up.
Coach Sigi Schmid’s club is trying to avoid a fourth consecutive loss. The Galaxy are 0-3-1 in their past four matches, getting outscored 11-2 during that span. Romain Alessandrino scored in the 58th minute of a 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.
“Everybody has to find what motivates them,” Schmid told the team’s official website earlier this month. “I think that everybody needs to find what motivates them.”
The clubs played to a 2-2 draw on June 17 in California. Houston has dropped two straight home matches to the Galaxy.
Houston midfielder Charlie Ward (dislocated kneecap) and defenders Philippe Senderos (adductor strain) and Boniek Garcia (undisclosed) are questionable. Garcia, from Honduras, will be called up for international duty following the Dynamo’s Saturday game against Minnesota United.
Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto also were recalled by Honduras, while Adolfo Machado was recalled by Panama and Jose Escalante by the Honduran under-22 squad.