NEW YORK – Goals have been a lot harder to come by for the Houston Dynamo, particularly on the road, since they put up a season-high four against D.C. United in late April.
The Dynamo take a 273-minute scoreless drought away from home into their match with United on Saturday night.
Houston's best win of the season was a 4-1 victory over D.C. on April 29. The Dynamo went 0-4-3 in their next seven games before a 2-1 victory over Chivas on June 11. They were unable to build any momentum, however, losing 2-0 to Columbus last Saturday.
Houston (4-6-6) has scored eight goals in the last nine games while being shut out four times. The Dynamo are 0-3-4 in road games and have failed to score in the last three, with their last goal away from home coming in the 87th minute of a 2-1 loss to Toronto on May 7.
"It's a simple game and I think we've made it too hard on ourselves and we've been punished for it," goalkeeper Tally Hall told the Dynamo's official website. "We haven't gotten a road win and it's bugging me, and I know it's bugging everyone."
Captain Brian Ching, the club's all-time leading scorer, has struggled to stay healthy and has been ineffective the few times he's actually been available. He's been limited to six games this season and has yet to score, putting only one shot on goal.
Teammate Will Bruin hasn't scored since getting three of the goals in April's win over United.
Despite the easy time they had defeating D.C. (4-5-5) in the last meeting, the Dynamo expect a much bigger challenge this weekend.
"We know they're going to come out hard because I'm sure they remember that result, so I'm sure they're going play hard," midfielder Geoff Cameron said. "It's the same with us. We can't go in there lightly because of the last result."
United continue to give up some high-scoring games, though. They've allowed 25 goals, second-most in the league to Toronto (26), but D.C. has played three fewer games.
After a 4-2 loss to San Jose on June 11, D.C. played better in a 1-all draw against Real Salt Lake last Saturday. The United gave up a goal on a penalty kick in the 85th minute.
"Offensively, we're a pretty consistent group," coach Ben Olsen said. "We're creating chances and we're getting some goals. Defensively, we still have to be a little sharper at times."
D.C. is 0-1-2 in its last three home games and 2-2-3 at RFK Stadium overall, a record the team is desperate to turn around. The players think a rematch against a team that beat them soundly will be a good test.
"We can't let them bully us like they did last time," United goalkeeper Bill Hamid said. "We've got to come in with a better attitude and work ethic than we did when we were away. We definitely want to improve our home results."
D.C. has lost its last three games against Houston by a combined 9-2 score.