Dynamo to test winning ways vs. revived Earthquakes
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The Houston Dynamo have won three straight matches to remain one of four unbeaten teams in Major League Soccer.
The Dynamo (3-0-1) look to continue their victorious ways on Saturday afternoon when they host the San Jose Earthquakes (1-4-0), who handed manager Matias Almeyda his first MLS win last week.
Houston has run roughshod over San Jose in 11 home matches since the latter returned to the MLS in 2008, improving to 8-2-1 in that stretch after overcoming a two-goal deficit to post a 3-2 win in the last encounter on Sept. 29 of last season.
Memo Rodriguez has been integral in the Dynamo's fast start, as the 23-year-old midfielder extended his goal-scoring streak to three games with his fourth of the season in a 4-1 win over Colorado on March 30.
"I'm really excited and happy for him," Houston head coach Wilmer Cabrera said of Rodriguez. "I knew him when we worked at RGV (Rio Grande Valley FC in 2016). He was very effective with that team. I decided to bring him to the Houston Dynamo and he's been doing better and better every season.
"This season he's excelled and he's scoring goals. I'm happy for him but we expect more -- because he has that quality."
Forward Alberth Elis scored and set up a goal in his last match for the Dynamo, who face a tough segment of their schedule after facing the Earthquakes. The Los Angeles Galaxy, Columbus Crew, FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders line the upcoming slate for Cabrera's crew.
"It's going to be very challenging, but a good test for us to see how we're going to start dealing with games every weekend against very good opponents," Cabrera said.
San Jose had been outscored 14-2 to start the season, but started fast last Saturday to secure its first win with a 3-0 romp over Portland. The Earthquakes scored three times in a half for the first time since a 2015 tilt at Sporting Kansas City.
"I think we started very well with a lot of energy in the first half," said Danny Hoesen, who played in place of captain Chris Wondolowski.
Hoesen joined fellow forward Cristian Espinoza and midfielder Shea Salinas with a tally versus the Timbers.
Daniel Vega highlighted San Jose's first shutout by stopping a penalty kick from Diego Valeri in the second half.
"The important thing to remember is you can't lose a season in the first five games, you can't win a season in the first five games," defender Tommy Thompson said. "I wasn't too down last week, and I'm not too high this week. We have a lot more to play for."
Wondolowski has 144 career goals, one shy of Landon Donovan's MLS record.