D.C. United interim coach Chad Ashton implored his side to fix their fragilities from set-pieces when they host Houston Dynamo in MLS on Sunday.

The Black and Red return to Audi Field searching for their first win over the Dynamo in eight years.

DC ended April with a 3-0 road defeat to Columbus Crew, leaving them rock bottom of the Eastern Conference, and Ashton urged improvements from his team.

“We’re leaking goals on set pieces, and that is a recipe for failure,” Ashton said. “We’ve got to clean that stuff up. We’ve got to do better. It’s pretty simple.”

Defender Brendan Hines-Ike added: “It’s definitely our Kryptonite. The effort is there that we put in the week, but there seems to be a problem in games where we do turn off.

“It has to change. Now it’s eight games in, and it’s cost us a lot of points.”

The Orange Crush again opened the scoring against Austin FC but lost 2-1 last game.

However, Houston will be boosted by the arrival of Roberto ‘Beto’ Avila from their MLS NEXT Pro affiliate, Houston Dynamo 2.

“Beto’s signing is a historic moment for the club as he is the first player to graduate from Houston Dynamo 2 to our first team,” general manager Pat Onstad.

“We launched our MLS NEXT Pro team to provide more professional opportunities for talented young players in Houston and around the country.

“MLS NEXT Pro is a new initiative by MLS, but we are already seeing the advantages to our player development efforts by providing a valuable bridge from our oldest academy team to our first team.

“We plan for Beto to be the first of many players to earn their way to MLS through this new pathway.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

D.C. United – Taxi Fountas

Taxi Fountas started for a second straight game against the Crew, though was not as effective as he was against the New England Revolution when he scored a brace.

Houston Dynamo – Sebastian Ferreira

Sebastian Ferreira has scored in consecutive matches for Houston, with his four strikes this season only matched by team-mate Darwin Quintero.

KEY OPTA FACTS

·Houston is unbeaten in five straight matches against D.C. United (W2 D3), last losing to D.C. in October 2014. Houston has averaged 1.92 points per match in 26 regular season meetings with D.C. (W15 D5 L6), only collecting more against Chivas USA (2.16) in the club’s MLS history.

·D.C. United has lost five of its last six matches following a 3-0 defeat to Columbus on Saturday. After keeping clean sheets in their first two matches this season, D.C. has allowed 13 goals in its last six games (2.2 per match).

·The Dynamo have lost two straight matches after losing just one of their first seven games this season (W3 D3), with both losses coming after scoring the opening goal. Houston had lost only twice when scoring first in the last two seasons combined (W9 D10).

·All six goals D.C. United has scored since the middle of March have been scored before half-time. D.C. has not scored a second-half goal in its last six matches and its two goals after half-time are fewest in MLS this season.

·Sebastián Ferreira’s goal from 60.4 yards for Houston against Austin was the longest in MLS since Wayne Rooney’s 68-yarder for D.C. United in 2019. The only other 60-yard goal in MLS since Opta began calculating distances on every goal in 2010 was a 78.7-yard strike by Kosuke Kimura for Colorado in 2011.