FC DALLAS (5-9-5) vs. HOUSTON (10-5-5), 8:30 p.m ET, Direct Kick
Defensive porosity in last week's 4-3 win over D.C. United, a home date with Chicago looming on Sunday, and a heavy slate of league and international games in August may prompt Coach Dominic Kinnear to keep things tight. Though Brian Ching returned to score twice in the win over D.C. United, Brian Mullan is doubtful and Kei Kamara questionable. They may be rested with seven more MLS and Concacaf Champions League matches scheduled this month.
A 6-0 hammering of Kansas City, sparked by a four-goal salvo by Jeff Cunningham, Saturday marked FC Dallas' third consecutive home win. Its last loss at Pizza Hut Park was a 3-1 defeat inflicted by the Dynamo June 13. (It lost, 1-0, at Houston in May.) Those three wins have nudged FCD near playoff contention, but it has only beaten Houston once in regular-season play.
Prediction: FCD 1, Dynamo 2.
RIDGE MAHONEY'S 2009 PREDICTION RECORD
Last week: 2-4. Season: 73-70.