CARSON, Calif – Chivas USA are getting ready for their last taste of home cooking for quite awhile. They take on the Houston Dynamo on Saturday (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online) in their final home match before embarking on a make-or-break five-game road trip.
The August road trip that includes matchups against league heavyweights FC Dallas, Seattle and Colorado makes it imperative for the Rojiblancos to get a full three points against Houston.
“This is an opportunity for us as the season goes on, we need to continue to press for three points,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy said. "Ties are just not good enough, we need a win and we need to beat Houston and that we’re very capable of doing that.”
Key to a victory against the Dynamo will be the play of Justin Braun, the team's leading scorer in 2010 who has struggled to find the net in 2011. Braun has tallied four goals this season, but three of those came in one game - Chivas' victory over the New York Red Bulls earlier in the year. Since that breakout performance, Braun has played with a number of partners up top including Victor Estupinan, Alejandro Moreno and Marcos Mondaini, but none have been able to help Braun return to his form that he enjoyed against New York.
Against Houston, however, Braun has excelled throughout his career. He scored two goals in US Open Cup play against the Dynamo last year, and he nearly broke through during the Rojiblancos' defeat to the Dynamo at Robertson Stadium in June. Although the club boasts a number of weapons including All-Star midfielder Nick LaBrocca, the belief around the Chivas USA camp is that Braun represents the surest ticket to a victory this weekend.
“Against this Houston team, [Braun] does really well so I’m hoping that he comes in and scores some goals for us,” Kennedy said. “I don’t know what it is about Houston, maybe that they’re a bigger team and he matches up against bigger players. I think he’ll get more time [on the ball], ...so I expect him to have a good game.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano