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United-Dynamo Preview

By MATT BEARDMORE

STATS Writer

(AP) -- A stellar home record has D.C. United challenging for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Playing in Houston has definitely been a challenge for coach Ben Olsen's club.

D.C. goes for its first win as the road team in this series Sunday night when the Dynamo look to extend their home unbeaten streak to 17.

After going 4-5-8 at RFK Stadium and finishing seventh in the East last season, D.C. is 7-1-2 at home in 2012, outscoring opponents 23-9 in those matches.

However, United have been outscored 13-11 while posting a 3-4-1 mark outside the nation's capital.

If history is any indication, D.C. could have a hard time improving that record Sunday. The club has been outscored 13-4 in seven games in Houston, settling for just one point.

In its last trip there, D.C. lost 1-0 on May 12 when Brad Davis' 67th-minute goal lifted the Dynamo in their first game at the new soccer-specific BBVA Compass Stadium.

"We haven't won in Houston and it's about time we try to fix that," Olsen, whose club beat Montreal 3-0 on June 30 for its sixth win in eight games, told D.C. United's website Thursday. "But it doesn't happen by saying it. You have to go out and do the work, stay organized and make sure you have the right fight in you."

Making sure reigning MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario is in the middle of the action could help D.C. finally break through in Houston.

The former Dynamo standout is tied for third on United with five goals - Chris Pontius has nine and Maicon Santos seven - and is among the league's best with 10 assists.

De Rosario has four goals and two assists in eight games versus Houston. He found the back of the net and set up a score in a 3-2 win April 28 that ended Houston's 4-0-1 run in this series.

The Dynamo (6-5-7), who at 4-0-3 are one of two MLS clubs without a home loss, are 11-0-5 against visiting teams since falling 2-0 to Columbus on June 18, 2011.

Houston opens a stretch of three home games in seven days following back-to-back scoreless draws versus Chicago and at Kansas City.

The Dynamo could have forward Calen Carr (left hamstring) and midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson (left adductor strain) available for this busy stretch following injury absences.

"When you have three games in a week it makes it a lot easier going into it with a lot of guys healthy rather than a handful of guys who can't play," coach Dominic Kinnear told the Dynamo's official website.

Houston second-year forward Will Bruin, the team leader with nine goals, will try to avoid going a fourth straight game without scoring. Bruin has five goals in four games against D.C., including a hat trick in a 4-1 home win April 29, 2011, and two scores April 28.

Santos recorded his third career two-goal game in that match.

Updated July 14, 2012

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