D.C. United (7-3-3, 24 points) travel to BBVA Compass Stadium tonight to take on Houston Dynamo (6-2-2, 20 points). The last time these two teams met the match ended in a 2-2 draw on March 17, 2018.
Dynamo charged out to a 2-0 lead with the goals coming from Alberth Elis (30’) and Mauro Manotas (31’), both players will be featured in tonight's match. However, the early lead was not enough as former United forward, Darren Mattocks finished in the 50th minute of the game and midfield maestro, Luciano Acosta scored in stoppage time to tie the game late and claim a point for the Black-and-Red.
United is coming off a hard-fought 0-0 draw at BMO Field against Toronto FC. A game where the opposition fired 35 shots - the most by an MLS team in 21 seasons. But Bill Hamid was stellar between the posts. He made 12 saves, a new career high and took sole possession of the league lead in shutouts (7) and saves (49). Hamid will undoubtedly be a big piece in the success of United tonight against Houston.
In their last five matches, Houston has gone 2-2-1. Houston’s most recent performance against Portland ended as a 1-1 draw. Houston got the first half goal to give them a 1-0 lead at home, but a late goal from Brian Fernandez spoiled the home team’s hopes for a full three-point takeaway. Both teams played midweek matches, meaning rotating the line-up will be key to their success on Saturday. Unfortunately, Houston has the benefit of playing at home and not having to deal with the travel.
Houston has a few key players that can cause havoc in the offensive third - forward Mauro Manotas (six goals and four assists), right winger Alberth Elis (four goals and six assists), and midfielder Memo Rodriguez (four goals and two assists). Tight pressure on Elis will be key to stifling the offensive creativity of the Dynamo tonight.
For United, Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta will always draw the most attention from their opponents especially after setting the league on fire last season after the opening of Audi Field. Lucas Rodriguez and Paul Arriola will most likely be returning to the starting lineup tonight. Both are wide midfielders who make fantastic runs, their movement in the middle of the field will hopefully open up space for LuchoRoo to take advantage of scoring opportunities.
D.C. United look to make it four unbeaten in Houston tonight at BBVA Compass Stadium. The match will be broadcast on FloFC coverage starts at 8 PM ET.