HARRISON, N.J. (AP) – An outstanding homestand lifted the Houston Dynamo into third place in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto FC might not be stuck at the bottom of the standings for long.
Houston will try to extend its season-best point streak to seven Saturday while host Toronto looks to win a fourth straight game for the first time in club history.
Facing a stretch of three home games in seven days, the Dynamo (9-5-7) earned all nine points during that span after defeating Montreal 3-0 last Saturday. Macoumba Kandji netted two goals and Bobby Boswell added one as Houston finished the stretch with a 9-1 scoring margin.
"This has probably been our most productive week in MLS with the games piled on top of each other," coach Dominic Kinnear told the Dynamo's official website. "To go from 25 (points) to 34 in a span of seven days, it gives us a huge boost in the standings and huge boost confidence wise."
The Dynamo, who trail New York and Kansas City in the East, are on a 4-0-2 run since a 4-2 loss at the expansion Impact on June 23.
Houston, though, is 0-5-4 away from home since winning its first two road contests. The club is 0-2-3 all-time at Toronto following a 2-1 loss in its last visit May 7, 2011.
Reversing those struggles at BMO Field could be a challenge for the Dynamo given how coach Paul Mariner's club has been playing.
Since setting an MLS record with nine losses to open the season, Toronto is 5-2-4. The club is 4-2-4 - all during a 32-day stretch - since Mariner replaced Aron Winter.
"The resilience of these boys is off the charts," Mariner said July 18 after a 2-1 victory over Colorado gave the team its first three-game winning streak since April 2008.
It will have to remain that way after leading goal scorer Danny Koevermans suffered a torn left ACL in a 1-0 road win over New England on July 14.
Without Koevermans, who scored twice in a 3-all draw at Houston on June 20, Toronto (5-11-4) will need continued production from Ryan Johnson and rookie midfielder Luis Silva, who has two goals and two assists while starting each game during the winning streak.
Three recent trades could also help Toronto generate more scoring chances. Andrew Wiedeman, who came over from FC Dallas in the Julian de Guzman deal earlier this month, scored the winner - his first MLS goal - in the Rapids match, while forward Quincy Amarikwa, acquired from the New York Red Bulls last week, scored in a 1-all friendly with Liverpool on Saturday.
French striker Eric Hassli could make his Toronto debut after joining the club July 20 in a trade with Vancouver. Hassli hasn't played since July 14 due to an ankle injury.
"He's a player that thinks about scoring goals," Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall, who has yielded two goals during the club's point streak, told MLS' official website.
Houston leading scorer Will Bruin scored twice in the final 17 minutes June 20 to help salvage a draw.
Toronto, one point behind ninth-place Philadelphia, is 3-0-2 at home since May 26.