Houston Dynamo FC return to Shell Energy Stadium on Wednesday to host the Columbus Crew in the final home match prior to the September FIFA window. The team will close the week in Southern California when they face the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening.
Houston earned three key points away from home on Saturday in their 3-0 victory over Real Salt Lake in Utah. Corey Baird scored the opening goal in the victory and the forward has now scored in four consecutive games for the team in all competitions. Ivan Franco fed the ball to captain Hector Herrera in the 29th minute for his second assist of the game. Herrera played the ball into the box for Daniel Steres who tallied his second goal of the season. The final goal of the match came in the 75th minute after Aliyu Ibrahim found Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla at the near post. Carrasquilla has now scored in two consecutive games following his performance in Houston’s 3-1 victory over Salt Lake in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal on Aug. 23. Ibrahim earned MLSSoccer.com Team of the Matchday honors for his performance in Salt Lake and he is the 10th player named to the squad this season.
Defensively, the team also earned their 10th clean sheet of the season and goalkeeper Steve Clark extended his single season record for most clean sheets in a single campaign with 10. The shot stopper tallied eight cleans sheets during the 2014 and 2016 seasons.
The victory on Saturday gave the Dynamo a share of fifth place in the Western Conference standings. This is the first time since the 2017 season that the Dynamo have occupied a playoff spot this late into the season. Including Wednesday’s match, nine games remain in the regular season for the Dynamo. Five of those matches will be played at home where Houston has posted an 8-2-2 record this season in league play.
Wednesday’s game is the first meeting between both teams since the 2020 season. That match in Houston finished in a 1-1 draw and the Dynamo enter with a 6-1-7 (WLD) record at home against the Crew. The match will be the first time midfielder Artur faces his former team. The Brazilian midfielder joined the Dynamo last fall following a trade with the Crew. Artur played in Columbus for six seasons and won the MLS Cup in 2020 plus the Campeones Cup in 2021. Clark also spent three seasons with the Columbus Crew from 2014-2016 and led the team to the 2015 MLS Cup final.
The Crew have earned back-to-back victories since returning to competitive play last week. Columbus defeated FC Cincinnati 3-0 on the road and recently defeated Toronto FC at home 2-0. The match on Wednesday is the first of a two-game road trip for the Crew who face CF Montreal on Saturday.
The Dynamo close the week in Carson, Calif. on Saturday when they face the LA Galaxy at 9:30 p.m. CT. The team returns to league play on Sept. 16 when they host St. Louis CITY SC at Shell Energy Stadium.