Storylines to Watch:
Houston's playoff push may hinge on road performances
Houston is currently sitting just below the red line in the tight Western Conference. What's holding them back? Despite a near perfect record at BBVA Compass Stadium (6-2-1), Wilmer Cabrera's men have yet to find their form away from home (1-4-3). The Dynamo's sole road win of the season was a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Fire on May 20. Since then, they have lost three consecutive road games, a stretch that included defeats to Real Salt Lake, Montreal Impact and most recently, Sporting Kansas City.
"We've got to learn how to play 90 minutes, especially away from home. At home sometimes we can get away with it," Houston defender DaMarcus Beasley said after the loss to SKC. "Teams die in our stadium, they don't want to come to Houston to play. But we have to have the right mentality to come to these games... to come and get something."
The Dynamo continue to strengthen their attack
The Houston Dynamo wasted no time in making their first move of the summer transfer window, which opened on July 10, adding 21-year-old Ronaldo Peña to an already a young and dynamic contingent. The 6-foot-1 striker, who starred for Venezuela's U-20 national team during its run to the final of the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, will join a talented Dynamo offense that is currently in third place for most goals in the league.
Why add an additional forward you may ask? Houston's head coach Wilmer Cabrera has hopes that Peña will further diversify the attack and will be the missing piece needed to push the Dynamo over the red line in their race to the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs.
“It is important for us to create competition amongst our forwards, and he has a different type of talent than Romell (Quioto), Alberth (Elis), Mauro (Manotas), Arturo (Alvarez), or Memo (Rodriguez)," Cabrera said. "Ronaldo is going to compete and help us to be more dangerous and to score more goals in order for us to be in playoff contention.”
Peña will be available for selection Saturday upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 visa.
Player to Watch: Mauro Manotas
Mauro Manotas has finally earned a spot as the Dynamo’s starting forward after signing with Houston back in 2015. The 22-year-old has found the net nine times and notched five assists, just 17 games into his fourth season. Four of those goals have come in his last four games.
Manotas’ play has improved every year since he’s been in Houston. In 2015, the Colombian only appeared in nine matches and failed to notch a goal. In 2016, he logged more minutes, making 22 appearances, but it wasn't until the latter half of the season that he left his mark, scoring six goals in the team’s last eight games.
With nine goals this season, Houston's attacking catalyst is on pace to increase his tally from last year, when he found the net 10 times in the regular season and once in the playoffs. He is currently tied with teammate Alberth Elis, Ignacio Piatti and Adama Diomande in seventh place for most goals in MLS.
Manotas scored against the Rapids the last time these two sides met on June 9 and a bagged a brace on October 8, 2016. It's safe to say the Rapids will want to keep an eye on Houston's #9 this weekend.
Colorado Rapids vs Houston Dynamo - Head-to-Head
The Rapids have met the Dynamo 27 times in the MLS regular season, resulting in a 11-9-7 record. Houston is currently in the seventh spot in the West with a 7-6-4 overall record. The Rapids, meanwhile, are coming off a 2-1 loss to the Montreal Impact that sees their season record sit at 4-11-3 overall.
The two sides met earlier this season on June 9 with Houston snagging a 2-0 win over Colorado at BBVA Compass Stadium.
- Head-to-Head Overall: Colorado Rapids 11 wins, 37 goals | Houston Dynamo 9 wins, 34 goals | 7 ties
- Head-to-Head in Colorado: Colorado Rapids 8 wins, 19 goals | Houston Dynamo 3 wins, 10 goals | 3 ties
- Previous Meeting: Houston Dynamo 2, Colorado Rapids 0 (June 9, 2018)