Dynamo try to cure road woes at Atlanta
While the visiting Houston Dynamo and Atlanta United enter Wednesday night’s matchup with similar records, plenty separates the clubs from opposite conferences.
The Dynamo (8-8-3, 27 points) have lost six of their last seven matches, including a 3-1 defeat to Los Angeles FC on Friday, their first loss at home all season. Houston is also one spot below the playoff line in the Western Conference.
Atlanta United (9-8-3, 30 points) are also coming off a defeat, having dropped a 2-1 decision to the Sounders at Seattle on Sunday, but the defending MLS champions are 6-0-1 at home since an April 20 defeat to FC Dallas. The Five Stripes are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, six points behind the first-place Philadelphia Union with two games in hand.
“Every day is a chance to get better,” goalkeeper Brad Guzan said of an Atlanta team that is 1-3-1 over its last five matches and has been outscored 14-9 in that stretch. “Every day is a chance to figure out why, and how we can get better. It is not just the defensive side of the ball. It is everywhere on the pitch we need to be better.”
There was still plenty to like for Atlanta United in their defeat in the Pacific Northwest, like a second-half equalizer from Josef Martinez, and a competitive match in a venue where the Sounders have not lost in 10 games this season.
Martinez, the reigning MLS MVP, has eight goals in his past five games, while missing three games to international duty with Venezuela, to give him 13 on the season after a slow start.
While the Dynamo are strong at home, they now hit the road, where they are 1-7-0 this season. The only other MLS club to collect points from just one road game is the Columbus Crew.
Like Atlanta, the Dynamo can take positives from their defeat to LAFC. They nabbed an early 1-0 lead on a goal in the third minute from Romell Quioto and had plenty of other scoring chances in the first half. The teams finished tied 14-14 on shots.
“It’s tough for sure, but you just focus on the next game,” said Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis, who did not expect to dwell on the defeat for long. “It’s a quick turnaround to travel and have a game on Wednesday. We’ll take a day off to focus on this game, and then it’s time to start focusing on Atlanta.”
Atlanta United will be without defender Brek Shea, who tore his ACL and meniscus in Sunday’s game and is out for the season. The Dynamo will be without midfielders Eric Bird (ankle) and Memo Rodriguez (hamstring).
REUTERS/Field Level Media