Eastern Conference title contender New York City FC look to bounce back from their most lopsided defeat since March when they host the Houston Dynamo on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
Despite taking an early lead through an Alex Ring goal, NYCFC (9-4-8, 35 points) suffered a 3-1 loss at Real Salt Lake on Saturday night, a result that saw them fall two spots to fifth in the East standings.
They're still second in terms of points earned per game (1.67), having played at least three fewer games than the rest of the conference. And in the Bronx, on one of MLS's smallest playing surfaces, they're very tough to beat, having gone 5-1-4 there this season.
Although NYCFC have been relatively quiet ahead of the secondary transfer window deadline, coach Dome Torrent believes his team is capable of more performances such as its 3-1 home win over Sporting Kansas City two matches ago.
"I'm very happy in our last performance in our stadium," Torrent said. "And I think we have the right players to play against Houston. After that, that's soccer, and you never know what will happen."
Meanwhile, Houston (9-11-3, 30 points) is coming off consecutive home shutout defeats after scoring in all of its previous 11 league games at BBVA Stadium.
Over a longer stretch, the Dynamo have gone just 2-9-1 after a blistering start that saw them play a home-heavy early schedule. And leading scorers Mauro Manotas (eight goals) and Alberth Elis (seven) have combined to hit the net only once in Houston's past six matches.
Despite that slide and despite their own relative lack of activity at the transfer deadline, the Dynamo sit only three points beneath the playoff line and could move above it, and rival FC Dallas, with an away win.
"We are in a drought to score goals at home, which is not normal for us, but the effort, the effort there," said coach Wilmer Cabrera. "We're going to continue fighting. We need to continue fighting and try to change the situation that we can not score a goal."
--Field Level Media
NYCFC seek to bounce back vs. Dynamo