THREE POINTS: Houston Dynamo FC close four-game homestand against Austin FC

NEED TO KNOW:

 

Houston host Austin FC for their first meeting at BBVA Stadium and second meeting of the regular season

 

Dynamo FW Fafa Picault enters the game with 99 MLS starts

 

Houston travel west next Wednesday to face the LA Galaxy

 

 

HOUSTON – Houston Dynamo FC host Austin FC for the first meeting between both teams at BBVA Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11.

 

The Dynamo look to close a four-game homestand with three points to snap a two-game losing streak at home. Houston fell 2-0 to the Portland Timbers last Friday and were held scoreless for the first time since a 2-0 loss to Minnesota United on Aug. 7.

 

Dynamo goalkeeper Michael Nelson earned his second start of the season and finished with two saves against the Timbers. Offensively, Memo Rodriguez and Teenage Hadebe combined for six key passes and Houston forced six saves from the Timbers shot stopper. The Dynamo will look to Fafa Picault and Maxi Urruti to spark the offense and the duo combines for 12 goals this season.

 

Saturday’s game is the first of two meetings against in-state rivals this month. Austin won the first meeting of the regular season between both teams with a 3-2 triumph at home on Aug. 4. Houston played nearly 70 minutes of the game with 10 men after midfielder Darwin Ceren received a red card for a foul near midfield. The Dynamo welcome FC Dallas next Saturday for the third and final meeting of the regular season. Houston and Dallas have split the points in the first two meetings with draws on May 8 and Aug. 21.

 

Austin enters Saturday’s game with five losses out of their last six games. Their lone victory was a 3-1 triumph over the Portland Timbers at home on Aug. 21. The expansion side has struggled on the road and enter with a 2-8-2 record away from home. Their last victory on the road was a 1-0 victory at Allianz Field over Minnesota United at the beginning of the season.

 

The Dynamo travel West next Wednesday to face the LA Galaxy at 9:30 p.m. CT at Dignity Health Sports Park.

 

Here are three key points ahead of Saturday’s game:

 

DYNAMO LOOK TO RESPOND AFTER BEING HELD SCORELESS AT HOME: Houston was held scoreless at home for the first time this season last Friday as they fell to the Portland Timbers 2-0. Houston will look for an offensive boost with the return of Ari Lassiter from international play and the probable return of forward Corey Baird. Dynamo head coach Tab Ramos mentioned that Baird has progressed from his lower body injury on Thursday and was in contention for minutes against Austin FC. Baird has earned three appearances for Houston since joining the team on July 30 in a trade with LAFC. Houston will also look to forwards Fafa Picault and Maxi Urruti to spark an offense that has averaged one goal in their last five games.

 

FIVE PLAYERS RETURN FROM INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Five Dynamo players return from international duty and will be eligible for selection on Saturday. Dynamo midfielder Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla is questionable after leaving with a non-contact injury in the opening minutes of Panama’s match against Mexico on Wednesday. Maynor Figueroa and Boniek Garcia will return from Honduras and finished with a two draws out of their first three games in the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers. Darwin Ceren started in the first two games for El Salvador, who opened their campaign with back-to-back draws prior to losing 3-0 to Canada on Wednesday. Ari Lassiter returns to Houston after helping Costa Rica earn two points from the opening round of games that finished with a 1-1 draw with Jamaica.

 

AUSTIN IN NEED OF POINTS AFTER DIFFICULT STRETCH: Austin enters Saturday’s game in need of points after falling to Vancouver on the road last Saturday. Sebastian Driussi gave Austin the lead minutes before the end of the first half, but late goals from Erik Godoy and Deiber Caicedo gave the expansion side their 13th loss of the season. Austin will look to Tomas Pochettino and Cecilio Dominguez for a spark in the final third. The duo combines for seven goals and six assists. Austin enters Saturday’s game with 21 goals scored this season, the fewest in the Western Conference and 13 of those goals have been scored in four games at Q2 Stadium this season.