Houston (2-3-1) at New York (1-2-4), 7:30 p.m.
Harrison, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Two teams heading in opposite directions will square off at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday as the New York Red Bulls play host to the Houston Dynamo.
New York picked up its first win of the season last time out, defeating the Philadelphia Union in another midweek clash on home soil.
Houston, meanwhile, enters the contest winless in its last four league outings. The Dynamo, who began the season with two successive wins, came into their last fixture on a three-match losing skid, but they managed to get a scoreless draw against the Union despite a late red card to Kofi Sarkodie.
All things considered, Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear was happy with the point.
"I think the guys held together well and dug deep the last little bit, and getting a point out of that was good," Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com after the match. "It's a conference opponent; it's a tough game playing down a man for the last 15 minutes.
"Don't get me wrong, I think in the first half we wanted more than just one point. But I thought the second half, considering the situation, I think the point was OK."
It was Tally Hall's third clean sheet of the season, a welcoming sign following a stretch that saw the Dynamo concede eight goals in the three-game losing streak.
"We had those three losses and wanted to get back on the right track," defender David Horst said. "Right now we're putting parts of games together and if we can keep putting parts of games together constantly, eventually the whole thing will come together for us."
Wednesday's meeting will be a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference semifinals. The Dynamo ousted the Supporters' Shield winners with a 2-1 victory at RBA, a match that saw Ibrahim Sekagya gift the visitors an equalizer by way of an arrant pass.
Sekagya won't be able to make any sort of impact in Wednesday's match as he gets set to serve a suspension follow a red card in last week's defeat of the Union.
The Red Bulls defender was sent off late in the affair after blocking a shot on the goal line with his outstretched arm. It allowed Sebastien Le Toux to convert a penalty to cut Philadelphia's deficit in half, but New York ultimately went on to claim all three points behind goals from Thierry Henry and Lloyd Sam, both of which came off of assists from Eric Alexander.
"I've been saying for a very long time that he's kind of the unsung hero," Henry said of Alexander after the win. "People don't talk too much about him, but today he was brilliant for us. (Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke) asked him to play on the left, (and) he did it. Sometimes he plays in front of the defense, sometimes he plays on the right, sometimes he doesn't play, (and) he doesn't moan. He's trying to do the best for the team, and I guess he got his reward."
Henry's goal against the Union was his second of the season, and it was a positive sign for a team that has struggled to convert its scoring chances this season.
"I think for the most part this year, we have created chances like that," said midfielder Dax McCarty. "We've had a lot of crosses in the box, we just haven't really been able to get on the end of things. We haven't been able to finish plays off and the final ball has always been lacking a little bit. That's the difference between a team that hadn't won a game all year and a team that could probably have three or four wins already. It's just that quality in the final third."