Washington, D.C. (Sports Network) - Houston Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear believed the club still had a chance to make the postseason earlier this week, but after a 4-3 loss to Kansas City on Wednesday said, "I know we don't now."
Now, all Houston - which will miss the postseason for the first time barring a miracle finish over the final weeks of the year - can hope to do is avoid the worst record in Major League Soccer.
Houston (6-14-5), last in the Western Conference, visits D.C. United (5-17-3), last in the Eastern Conference with the worst record in MLS, on Saturday night at RFK Stadium.
The Dynamo hold a five-point lead over United with five matches left this year and the clubs with a combined eight MLS titles (Houston won twice as San Jose before becoming the Dynamo in 2006) are both desperate for points this week.
Houston has lost four straight, has just one win in its last 15 - dating back to a 2-0 win over United in May - and has not won on the road since early May.
The Houston franchise, including the original San Jose team, has qualified for the playoffs every season since 2000. With a 13-point gap to make up over the rest of the season, Kinnear was right when he said the team has no chance.
D.C. has already been eliminated from the postseason, extending the four-time champions' playoff drought to three years, but it has played better since Ben Olsen took over as interim manager.
United has two wins in its last five and led the Los Angeles Galaxy last week, but allowed two late goals to Landon Donovan to fall, 2-1, for its 17th defeat of the season.
In addition to trying to avoid the worst record in the league, D.C. is trying to avoid another shutout over the remainder of the season or it will set a new MLS record for shutouts in a season.