The Dynamo and Nashville SC find themselves behind the playoff lines in their respective conferences heading into Wednesday's tilt in Houston.
The Dynamo (4-6-7, 19 points) dropped a 1-0 decision on Saturday against another expansion squad in Inter Miami CF and reside in ninth place in the Western Conference following a dismal 1-4-3 stretch. They are level in points with eighth-place Colorado, though the Rapids hold the tiebreaker.
Marko Maric made a pair of sterling saves among his three stops, however he was unable to thwart a penalty kick in the setback to Miami.
"We lacked. At the end of the day, we have to perform like we performed in the last 20 minutes of the game," Houston coach Tab Ramos said. "We have to perform that way from minute one. I don't want to react on getting scored on and then reacting. I'd like for the team to start attacking from the beginning."
Darwin Quintero, who leads the team in goals (six) and assists (eight), set up Maynor Figueroa's goal in the 89th minute to help the Dynamo salvage a 1-1 draw against Nashville SC (4-6-6, 18 points) on Sept. 26.
Daniel Rios scored in the 49th minute of that contest and Joe Willis made seven saves for the expansion club, which fell to 0-1-3 in their last four matches following a 2-1 defeat to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. The loss has Nashville SC residing in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, although even in points with Atlanta United FC.
Walker Zimmerman pulled even with Rios by scoring his team co-leading second goal after converting a corner kick from Randall Leal in the 15th minute. Nashville's 12 goals on the season are the second fewest in the MLS, ahead of only FC Cincinnati (eight).
Jack Maher, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 SuperDraft, made his MLS debut after entering the match in the 76th minute.
"He was terrific," coach Gary Smith said of the 20-year-old Maher. "With these first (14) minutes, or more, in the game, I think Jack showed us some of the qualities and signs that we can look forward to in the future."
--Field Level Media
Dynamo, Nashville square off in crucial meeting