ZURICH (AP) – The Houston Dynamo have won once in their last seven league matches, yet they still hold the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
A favorable upcoming schedule could help the Dynamo solidify their grip.
Houston will try to notch the second-longest home unbeaten streak in MLS history at 23 on Saturday night when it faces a short-handed New England Revolution side.
Since winning a season-best five in a row, the Dynamo (12-8-10) have gone 1-3-3 in MLS play and currently sit in fifth in the East, one point ahead of sixth-place Columbus.
Houston, though, closes the regular season with three of four at BBVA Compass Stadium, where it is 9-0-5. The Dynamo, the league's only undefeated home team, are unbeaten in Houston since a 2-0 loss to Columbus on June 18, 2011.
The Crew had a 22-game home unbeaten streak June 28, 2008-Sept. 26, 2009, and Real Salt Lake holds the MLS mark at 29 set June 6, 2009-May 14, 2011.
The Dynamo seem to have a good shot at moving closer to that record as they take on three of the four worst teams in the East - New England (7-15-8), Montreal and Philadelphia - during this three-game MLS stretch in Houston.
"I think the mentality has to be that they all have to be wins," captain Brad Davis told the Dynamo's official website. "With where we're at (in the standings) and what's going on, our destiny's in our own hands and if we get nine points at home we're in pretty good position for the playoffs and maybe jump up a little bit."
The Dynamo, four points back of D.C. United and New York, will face a Revolution club that will be without many of its top players. Leading goal scorer Saer Sene (ACL), who scored twice in a 2-all draw against Houston on May 19, and Chris Tierney (knee sprain and hamstring strain) remain out, Flo Lechner is sidelined with an MCL sprain suffered in a 1-all draw versus New York last Saturday and Texas native Lee Nguyen underwent season-ending right shoulder surgery earlier this week.
Ryan Guy won't be available due to international duty and fellow midfielder Clyde Simms is doubtful with right calf tightness. Still, Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear is not going to overlook the Revs.
"You can't look at teams as weaker teams," he said. "You have to look at everybody as 11 professionals and you have to prepare for every team the same way."
Eliminated from playoff contention, the Revolution are looking at this final four-game stretch as a way to impress the coaching staff and management and build momentum toward 2013.
"It's definitely a time for people to come out and show the coach what they can do, try to establish a spot on the team, try to push the starters and push them for their spots," defender A.J. Soares told the Revolution's official website.
Houston won 1-0 in New England's last visit April 17, 2011. The Dynamo were 0-4-2 at home in this series prior to that victory.