HOUSTON – When the Houston Dynamo visit D.C. United on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online), there will be plenty of familiar faces there to greet them. After all, D.C. have three former Dynamo players in their camp: assistant coach Pat Onstad, midfielder Dwayne De Rosario and recently acquired winger Danny Cruz.
But Houston aren’t going to the Capital for a feel-good reunion.
“For us, we’re looking at it as a game that we can get three points but also a game where we can send a message to a team that’s going to be playing us a few weeks later,” Bobby Boswell told MLSsoccer.com about facing D.C. “It’s about business. We’re all friends, but we don’t want to lose to each other.”
In order to avoid that loss, Houston will have to figure out how to stop a dangerous D.C. offense that has scored 12 goals this season – tied for second in the Eastern Conference – to lead the club on a six-match unbeaten streak.
With a diverse stable of attackers, United have become dangerous from almost every position. Seven different players have either a goal or an assist this year for the Capital Club. The most recent hero, Chris Pontius, torched the rival New York Red Bulls for a hat trick last week en route to a 4-1 win and an MLS Player of the Week nod.
“It’s obvious that Chris Pontius is on fire,” said Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall. “He had a good goal against us last year and to say he’s the heart of the team, even with a guy like [De Rosario] on it, is a huge compliment to him and that’s what I’d say. I think he’s one of the best players in the league.”
In addition to Pontius, Maicon Santos has found his form in MLS with four goals and rookie Nick DeLeon has been a positive early in his first season with three goals and three assists. Reigning MVP and Golden Boot-winner De Rosario has yet to score a goal this year, but has made up for it with four assists. And then there’s the boundless energy that Cruz brings to the table.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run for 90 minutes as hard as he’s ever run,” Hall said of his old teammate. “He’s probably going to run into some people and have some hard tackles, but we’ve played with Danny and he does it when he’s on your team and will when he’s playing against someone.
“We’re expecting to come out and see a team that’s playing confidently that’s going to be difficult to play against. But we’re a good team and we think we can play against anybody.”
Davis back on the road
Brad Davis will be available for selection on Saturday for the first time since Week 3, and the Dynamo are looking forward to getting their playmaker back.
“The way he changes the team it’s so easy to give him the ball and for him to make a positive impact,” Hall said. “Tim [Hanley, Dynamo goalkeeper coach] always jokes that if you rocket it at his face he’d be able to take it down and find the right touch. He’s just that good.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.