Houston Dynamo vs New England Revolution 03-09-2014 - Preview

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Houston Dynamo
4 - 0
Final
New England Revolution
MLS Regular Season
March 8, 2014
8:30pm EST
BBVA Compass Stadium
MLS LIVE

Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution | MLS Match Preview

HOUSTON DYNAMO vs NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM, Houston, Texas
March 8, 2014 (WEEK 1, MLS Game #4)
7:30 p.m. CT (CSN-Hou; CSN-NE)

Two Eastern Conference playoff clubs from a season ago open their 2014 campaigns against each other when the Houston Dynamo play host to the New England Revolution. The Dynamo again reached the postseason last year, only to have their bid for a third consecutive MLS Cup appearance stopped short by the eventual champions. The Revolution returned to the playoffs for the first time in four seasons in 2013.

REFEREE: Ramon Hernandez. SAR (bench): Isreal Fernandez; JAR (opposite): Marcos de Oliveira; 4th: TBA
MLS Career: 36 games; FC/gm: 28.2; Y/gm: 4.3; R: 7; pens: 9

SUSPENDED: none
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (17 meetings): Dynamo 4 wins, 17 goals … Revolution 7 wins, 22 goals … Ties 6
AT HOUSTON (8 meetings): Dynamo 2 wins, 5 goals … Revolution 5 wins, 9 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 4/12: New England Revolution vs. Houston Dynamo, 5 p.m. ET; 10/16: Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution, 7 p.m. CT

LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/18: HOU 0, NE 2 (Fagundez 51; Agudelo 84)
7/13: NE 1, HOU 2 (Sene 55 – Moffat 49, 79)
9/28: NE 1, HOU 1 (Sene 64 – Bruin 76)

  • The clubs evenly split their three games a season ago. Each won at the other’s home ground – Houston taking a 2-0 victory May 18 in the only contest at BBVA Compass Stadium – before the teams concluded their series with a draw in Foxborough in September.
  • The Revolution have won on five of their last seven visits to Houston. New England last defeated Houston at Gillette Stadium in 2010.
  • The teams have played for three cups. They met in back-to-back MLS Cup Finals in 2006 and 2007, the Dynamo winning on both occasions (on penalty kicks in MLS Cup 2006; 2-1 in MLS Cup 2007). They also met in the 2008 SuperLiga final (won by New England on penalties).
  • Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. NE: P22 W7 L7 D8 … Jay Heaps vs. HOU: P5 W1 L2 D2

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo kick off the 2014 season having seen their bid for a third consecutive trip to MLS Cup derailed a step short last year, in a conference final loss to eventual champion Sporting KC. Dominic Kinnear begins his ninth season in charge in Houston, the only coach the Dynamo have ever known, having led the club to the league championship game four times in eight seasons of existence.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo concluded their preseason with a 7-3-1 record after a 2-0 win against the NASL Charleston Battery in the final match of the Carolina Challenge Cup. Tony Cascio and Giles Barnes each scored their fifth goals of the preseason in the victory.
  • Here’s the Dynamo team: Tally Hall; Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst (Anthony Arena 84), Eric Brunner (AJ Cochran 41), Corey Ashe; Andrew Driver (Alexander López 50), Brad Davis (Jason Johnson 84), Ricardo Clark (Mike Chabala* 86), Tony Cascio (Brian Ownby 84); Giles Barnes (Omar Cummings 79), Will Bruin (Mark Sherrod 84)
  • In a relatively quiet offseason, the biggest change for the Dynamo was the departure of Bobby Boswell through the re-entry draft, as he returned to D.C. United. Heading into the season opener, David Horst, Eric Brunner and Jamaican international Jermaine Taylor will be in contention for the starting center back roles.
  • “They’re the start of the backbone, the spine of your team. You want strength and good communicators and guys who are good in the air. You don’t want your center backs to be easy to play against, so you want them to be physical.”
  • There are some injury concerns entering the season opener. Holding midfielder Warren Creavalle had offseason surgery to address tendonitis in both knees, and Jermaine Taylor was able to feature until the final two preseason games after coming back from offseason surgery.
  • “I thought he looked good,” Kinnear said about Taylor. “He’s one of those players that doesn’t look out of sorts when he doesn’t play for a while. I thought his minutes were good and I’m sure he felt good about the way he played and I think he played pretty good.”
  • With Brian Ching and Cam Weaver also having departed – club icon Ching announcing his retirement at the end of last season – the first-choice strike pair will be manned by Giles Barnes and Will Bruin.
  • The Dynamo are also hoping to count upon a healthy Omar Cummings. After knee injuries limited him to just 11 league appearances, Cummings scored twice against the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
  • “It’s almost like a new signing because of what happened last year,” Kinnear said. “You want competition at all spots. It makes everyone better. … He’s scored some good goals and obviously you want him pushing and scoring goals in the preseason because that makes it better for competition.”
  • Cascio could also play a feature role for the Dynamo, having come to the club from the Colorado Rapids in the first intra-league loan in MLS history.
  • “He might be a surprise to some people that don’t really know him too well, but following him in college and what I saw in Colorado I thought he would fit in,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “I think he gets it. When he takes that first step forward and takes people on, that’s the reason we tried to acquire him.”

OFFSEASON TRANSACTIONS

IN: DF David Horst (12/17/13 - trade from Portland); DF A.J. Cochran (1/16/14 - SuperDraft); MF Tony Cascio (1/21/14 - loan from Colorado); FW Mark Sherrod (2/26/14 - SuperDraft); GK Michael Lisch (2/26/14 - SuperDraft)

OUT: FW Brian Ching (11/25/13 - retired); DF Bobby Boswell (12/9/13 - out of contract); FW Calen Carr (12/9/13 - out of contract); DF Mike Chabala (12/9/13 - option declined); MF Alex Dixon (12/9/13 - option declined); FW Cam Weaver (12/9/13 - option declined)

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
Having reached the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time following a three-year drought in 2013, the New England Revolution are looking to build upon their third-place finish in the Eastern Conference this season. Jay Heaps returns for his third season in charge of the club, guiding the team to a 16-point turnaround last year.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Revolution ended their preseason with a 2-1-4 overall record, including a 1-1-2 mark at the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz, following a 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rapids in the tournament finale.
  • Here’s the Revolution team: Bobby Shuttleworth (Luis Soffner 79), Donnie Smith, A.J. Soares (Stephen McCarthy 66), Darrius Barnes (O’Brian Woodbine 66), Kevin Alston (Jossimar Sanchez 66), Scott Caldwell (Paulo DelPiccolo 66), Diego Fagundez (Dimitry Imbongo 66), Daigo Kobayashi (Steve Neumann 66), Kelyn Rowe (Alec Sundly 66), Patrick Mullins (Charlie Davies 59, Pierre Omanga 78), Teal Bunbury (Jerry Bengtson 66)
  • The Revolution made a couple of trades during the preseason with an aim to bolster the club’s attacking options. They first acquired young striker Teal Bunbury from MLS champion Sporting Kansas City – he is expected to fill the target striker role performed by Juan Agudelo last season
  • “We fit well with how he plays and he fits well with what we’re trying to do,” said Heaps. “Away from scoring two goals in preseason – two great goals – for me, it was what he did for us tactically. It was what he did for our midfield and how he pressured, where he pressured and how he helped as an outlet ball for our attacking midfielders.”
  • The club then picked up midfielder Daigo Kobayashi in a trade with Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
  • “He adds some depth in the midfield and a little bit of experience and class on the ball that we need at certain times,” Heaps said of Kobayashi. “He’s a player that I actually enjoyed quite a bit last year, but also a player that was on my radar before he got into the league. So when he came into MLS, obviously I kept a keen eye and we’re excited to have him.”
  • Once again, the Revolution will open the season on the road, this year with a pair of games. Last year the Revs were one of just two teams to end the year with a .500 record or better on their travels (6-6-5; Sporting KC was 8-5-4).
  • “It’s a big thing that Jay’s really harped on throughout the year last year and now this year; can we go control the game in someone else’s home?” said Kelyn Rowe. “This first game especially, it’s going to be like the first day of school – it’s going to be crazy, it’s going to be exciting, everyone’s going to be 100 percent and obviously it’s a game against Houston, so it’s going to be physical.”
  • Revolution striker Jerry Bengtson was called into the Honduras national team for its friendly vs. Venezuela. Bengtson has 40 appearances for Honduras and has scored 18 international goals. His last appearance came on Nov. 16, 2013, in a 5-0 loss to Brazil in Miami.

OFFSEASON TRANSACTIONS

IN: MF Paolo DelPiccolo (11/25/13 - Waiver Draft); GK Brad Knighton (12/11/13 - trade from Vancouver); FW Charlie Davies (1/9/14 - transfer from Randers); MF Steve Neumann (1/16/14) - SuperDraft; FW Patrick Mullins (1/16/14 - SuperDraft); FW Teal Bunbury (2/19/14 - trade from Sporting KC); DF Jossimar Sanchez (2/26/14 - '13 Supplemental Draft); MF Daigo Kobayashi (2/26/14 - rights from Vancouver); MF Alec Sundly (2/27/14 - SuperDraft)

OUT: FW Chad Barrett (11/22/13 - option declined); MF Ryan Guy (11/22/13 - option declined); DF Tyler Polak (11/22/13 - option declined); GK Matt Reis (11/22/13 - option declined); MF Clyde Simms (11/22/13 - option declined); MF Juan Toja (11/22/13 - option declined); DF Bilal Duckett (11/22/13 - waived); FW Matt Horth (11/22/13 - waived); MF Gabe Latigue (11/22/13 - waived); FW Juan Agudelo (11/22/13 - out of contract); GK Matt Reis (12/11/13 - retired)