Houston Dynamo 2 host the leaders of the Western Conference on Saturday as they welcome St. Louis CITY SC 2 to AVEVA Stadium.

Dynamo 2 earned their ninth shutout of the season last weekend with a 1-0 victory over Minnesota United FC 2 at Allianz Field. Forward Kyle Edwards converted a penalty kick for his fifth goal of the season. Edwards has scored in three consecutive games for Dynamo 2 and is tied for the second most goals scored on the team this season.

Goalkeeper Xavier Valdez earned his sixth clean sheet of the season last Saturday and finished with three saves. The Dynamo shot stopper has been a key in goal with 16 clearances and 36 saves this season. Additionally, Micael returned to the starting lineup after joining the first team for the match against Montreal on Aug. 13. Micael and his centerback partner Talen Maples combined for nine clearances and six interceptions in Minnesota.

Saturday’s match is the second meeting of the season between both teams with St. Louis earning three points at home on June 4. Dynamo 2 fielded one of its youngest squads in that game and only one player from the first team was available for the road trip. Juan Castilla and Brooklyn Raines missed the match due to international duty with the U.S. U-19 Men’s National Team.

Houston travel to Denver, Colorado next weekend for their final road trip of the regular season. Dynamo 2 will face Colorado Rapids 2 at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11 and Houston looks to win the series after earning a draw at home on Aug. 14. Houston won the first meeting of the season 2-0 on May 8 at home with goals from Talen Maples and Diego Gonzalez.

Here are three key points ahead of Saturday's match:

  1. DYNAMO 2 BACKLINE LEAD LEAGUE IN KEY CATEGORY: Dynamo 2 have allowed the fewest goals in the Western Conference this season with 20. At home the team has only conceded four times in 810 minutes. That’s nearly a goal conceded every two and a half games. Goalkeeper Xavier Valdez has played a key role in preventing opposing teams from scoring on Dynamo 2 this season with 36 saves and six shutouts. Additionally, the duo of Micael and Talen Maples has limited teams to just seven big chances in the last five games that featured both players.
  2. RIOS MAKES DYNAMO 2 DEBUT: Dynamo 2 midfielder Paolo Rios made his MLS NEXT Pro debut on Saturday in Minnesota. The midfielder finished with one chance created and one shot inside the box in his 45-minute shift. The 22-year-old signed with the team on Aug. 14 after four and a half years with Club America in Mexico.
  3. ST. LOUIS PREPARING FOR MLS: The visitors travel to AVEVA Stadium with a four-game winning streak after they defeated Portland Timbers 2 in Oregon on Aug. 27. Eduard Löwen, one of two Designated Players signed earlier this year, came off the bench against Timbers 2 and made his debut the previous week in St. Louis’ 5-2 victory over Earthquakes II in California. St. Louis is preparing for the inaugural season in Major League Soccer in 2023 and has found key minutes for potential first team players like Joshua Yaro and Vitor Dias.