Rapids versus Dynamo preview

April 18, 2009

With their offense scuffling, the Houston Dynamo are still seeking their first win of the season. A home game against the Colorado Rapids could be just what they need to get it.

The Dynamo look to break out of their funk and continue their home dominance over the Rapids on Sunday.

A slow start to the season is nothing new for Houston (0-2-2), but its lack of scoring is a bit of a concern.

The Dynamo recorded 45 goals last season to tie for third-most in MLS, but they've managed only three through four games in 2009.

In last Saturday's scoreless tie with New York, the Dynamo had three shots on goal. Houston, which suffered a 1-0 loss to D.C. United in its previous game April 4, has not scored since the 36th minute of a 3-2 defeat to San Jose on March 28.

"We're so intent on getting forward and making something happen that we're just not relaxed enough on the field when we're attacking as a team," defender Wade Barrett told the Dynamo's official Web site. "That's what happens when you haven't gotten a win."

Houston has a history of struggling to get its first victory.

The Dynamo opened last season 0-2-4 before rebounding to win the Western Conference. In 2007, Houston started 2-5-1 but went on to capture its second straight MLS Cup.

"We seem to want to try to be perfect instead of just to play," coach Dominic Kinnear said. "It's one of those where you just need that one good play, everyone breathes a sigh of relief, and you can relax a little bit."

The Dynamo earned ties in their first two games in Houston this season, but they've had no trouble beating Colorado (2-1-1) there.

The Dynamo defeated the Rapids 2-1 in the only matchup at Robertson Stadium last season and are 4-0-1 there against Colorado, including a 3-1 victory in the 2006 Western Conference championship game.

With the playoff win, the Dynamo are 7-2-2 all-time versus Colorado. Houston forward Brian Ching has been a big reason for that success.

Ching, who scored a team-high 13 goals in 2008, has nine goals in Houston's 11 games versus the Rapids. He had two scores in the three meetings last season with the Dynamo going 2-0-1 in the series.

Despite opening 2009 with a daunting schedule, the Rapids are seeking three regulation victories in their first five games for the first time in the franchise's 14-year history.

Four of Colorado's first five matches are on the road and it wraps up a three-game road stretch Sunday.

After opening the trip with a 3-2 win over Los Angeles on April 4, the Rapids tied Columbus 1-1 last Saturday.

"It was good to score and get the point," said Colorado's Conor Casey, who scored in the 82nd minute against the Crew. "To get out of here with a point is big."

Casey, who recorded a hat trick against the Galaxy, had a goal in Colorado's 3-1 loss to Houston on Oct. 4.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press