Action from the August 20, 2013, CONCACAF Champions League match between DIRECTV W Connection (left) and the Houston Dynamo in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago. (Photo: Anthony Harris)
HOUSTON -- The Houston Dynamo can move to the Group 1 summit with a win over last-place DIRECTV W Connection in the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday at BBVA Compass Stadium. For game notes, please click here.
Houston trails first-place Arabe Unido by two points and regardless of the result in its penultimate Group Stage match, an October 24 meeting between the table toppers in Panama will decide of the two will advance to the quarterfinals.
With one point from three matches, W Connection has already been eliminated from contention. That point, though, was earned at home when the Savonetta Boys battled the Dynamo to a 0-0 draw at in Trinidad & Tobago on August 20.
Houston is unbeaten in seven of its last eight CCL matches and is coming off a 2-1 win over Arabe Unido last month. Cam Weaver netted a brace in the triumph to become the Dynamo’s all-time leading scorer in the competition with five goals.
After going winless in three straight Major League Soccer games -- capped by a stunning 4-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls at home -- Houston has won two straight, including a 5-1 victory over Chivas USA on Saturday.
“I think that shows the character of this team,” said forward Will Bruin. “A few weeks ago, maybe we put our heads down and feel sorry for ourselves. This week we’ve had a few meetings and have really come together a lot as a team and these last two performances have shown that.”
Currently fourth in the Eastern Conference, the Dynamo are hoping Saturday’s performance will buoy them during the late push in the MLS regular season and the Champions League.
“I think the way we responded says a lot about this team,” goalkeeper Tally Hall commented. “It’s something we hadn’t done earlier and the middle part of this season and it’s something we’re doing now.”
On Tuesday, Houston announced the retirement of former U.S. international forward Brian Ching, who will play out the remainder of the season before what is sure to be an emotional – and first of its kind for an MLS player – testimonial match Dec. 13 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
“Mentally you’re there … but physically your body won’t let you do it,” Ching said at press conference Tuesday. “I think the realization hit me a couple of weeks ago. I was so frustrated at times I wasn’t enjoying it. Now I’m getting back there.”
W Connection will look to play the role of spoilers in their final match of the Group Stage. It has raced out to a solid start in the TT Pro League with six points from the first two matches, wins over St. Ann’s Rangers and Police FC by a combined 8-0.