Preview: Houston battle NY Red Bulls for 1st place in East

Preview - Houston vs. New York, May 21, 2011

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The Houston Dynamo meet the New York Red Bulls for the second time this season when the Eastern Conference clubs face off Saturday at Robertson Stadium. The teams played to a 1-1 draw in early April at Red Bull Arena. The Dynamo stopped a two-game losing slide last time out with a scoreless draw at Real Salt Lake last weekend. The Red Bulls saw their unbeaten streak crash to a halt at four games in a 3-2 home loss to Chivas USA last Sunday.

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REFEREE: Juan Guzman. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Ian Anderson; 4th: Baldomero Toledo
Guzman's MLS Career: 2 games; FC/gm: 33.0; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 1; pens: 1

INJURY REPORT: HOUSTON DYNAMO – OUT: FW Calen Carr (concussion); FW Brian Ching (L plantar fascitis); MF Danny Cruz (R knee hyperextension)

NEW YORK RED BULLS – OUT: MF Carl Robinson (R knee contusion)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: HOU: Kofi Sarkodie (U.S. U-20 national team) … NY: Sacir Hot (U.S. U-20 national team)
SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Luke Rodgers

HEAD-TO-HEAD:
ALL-TIME (11 meetings): Dynamo 2 wins, 12 goals … Red Bulls 3 wins, 12 goals … Ties 6
AT HOUSTON (5 meetings): Dynamo 2 wins, 8 goals … Red Bulls 0 wins, 3 goals … Ties 3

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. They traded goals early in the second half before settling for a 1-1 draw, April 2 at Red Bull Arena.
  • The Dynamo are unbeaten at Robertson Stadium in league play vs. New York, with two wins and three draws in five all-time meetings.
  • But, the Red Bulls won the second leg of their 2008 conference semifinal series, 3-0, in Houston, on their way to MLS Cup. New York has come away with a point on each of their last two league meetings in Houston.
  • The Dynamo have never won a game against the Red Bulls in New Jersey. The Red Bulls have won three of the six home league meetings all-time with three draws; the teams also played to a draw in an Eastern Conference Semifinal Series.

Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear v NY: P16 W5 L4 D7 … Hans Backe vs. HOU: P3 W1 L0 D2
LAST MEETING (MLS): 4/2: NY 1, HOU 1 (Richards 47 – Weaver 50)

  • Coming off the bench at halftime, newly acquired Canadian international Dwayne De Rosario quickly made his mark for NY. De Rosario sliced a ball from the middle of the field to Dane Richards, who freed himself with a cutback and fired past Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall in the 47th minute.
  • But Houston responded with a goal of their own just three minutes later. Will Bruin flicked a header over the top of the Red Bulls defense, and as New York goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul came off his line, Cam Weaver lofted the ball over Coundoul.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1-3-2): Bouna Coundoul - Jan Gunnar Solli, Rafael Marquez, Tim Ream, Roy Miller - Teemu Tainio - Dane Richards (Luke Rodgers 78), Mehdi Ballouchy (Dwayne De Rosario 46), Joel Lindpere - Juan Agudelo, Thierry Henry.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-3-2): Tally Hall – Hunter Freeman, Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe – Lovel Palmer – Danny Cruz (Mike Chabala 82), Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis – Will Bruin (Alex Dixon 73), Brian Ching (Cam Weaver 39).

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo saw their winless run stretched to three matches, though they came away from Rio Tinto Stadium with a scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake. The Dynamo have 13 points from 10 games on the season, sitting in a three-way tie for third place in the Eastern Conference.

HOUSTON DYNAMO - LAST MATCH

  • Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall made just one save. RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando was called upon to make three saves, including a pair on Dynamo rookie Will Bruin, both coming in short order just after the hour mark.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made three changes to the team that lost 2-1 to Toronto FC at BMO Field. Corey Ashe came into the back for Eddie Robinson, Colin Clark returned to the midfield for Je-Vaughn Watson, and Will Bruin started up top for Koke.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Hunter Freeman, Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Colin Clark (Je-Vaughn Watson 67), Lovel Palmer, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis - Will Bruin (Koke 69), Cam Weaver (Jason Garey 87).

HOUSTON DYNAMO - TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo were shut out for the first time since the season opener, but still came away from Real Salt Lake with a point in their scoreless draw.
  • “Both teams had some chances,” Kinnear said. “Both teams put themselves in position to maybe get a goal. It didn’t work out. Nick Rimando made some good saves. We were close a couple of times. So were they. Both teams knocked the ball around and competed well for 90 minutes.”
  • It was the second defensive shutout for the Dynamo, their first since April 17. Tally Hall was called upon to make just a single save for his third career shutout.
  • “You look back and we had chances to put the ball in the back of the net. With a little more composure and that final pass, we could of come out of here with three (points),” Houston midfielder Geoff Cameron said.
  • After Eddie Robinson was given his first start of the season and Corey Ashe going to the substitutes’ bench for the first time, the Dynamo returned to their first-choice back four, with André Hainault again sliding into central defense.
  • “You’ve got Corey [Ashe] on the left ,who can take the ball out of the back, and I think he played some good balls there, and Bobby [Boswell] and I communicate pretty well, so it was pretty good,” Hainault said. “I didn’t really think of our [strong] play until after the game, because I was so focused on us trying to get that win, but it’s nice and it’s a good sign.”

NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls had their unbeaten streak end at four games, falling 3-2 to Chivas USA on Sunday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls have 15 points from 9 games, still leading the Eastern Conference.

NEW YORK RED BULLS - LAST MATCH

  • After a power outage delayed kickoff, Chivas USA's Justin Braun got the match off to a flying start after five minutes. Taking a pass from teammate Nick LaBrocca on the left, he cut across the penalty area and curled a right-footed shot into the back of the net.
  • The Red Bulls responded in the 21st minute. Defender Rafa Márquez looped a long ball over the top to Thierry Henry, who took two touches and coolly slotted a right-footed shot past Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
  • But Chivas, and Braun, restored their lead shortly afterward. Heath Pearce floated a free kick beyond the far post in the 31st minute, but Ante Jazic got in a touch to keep the ball in play and found Braun, who squeezed the ball between New York goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul’s legs.
  • New York again answered quickly, this time when Luke Rodgers was tugged to the ground by Pearce while making a run in the box, and Dwayne De Rosario thumped the resulting penalty kick into the back of the net in the 35th minute.
  • Yet Braun and Chivas had one final answer. In the 56th minute, Chivas USA midfielder Simon Elliott sent a free kick towards the top of the six-yard box, and an unmarked Alejandro Moreno snapped a header off the post. It bounced directly to Braun, who tapped home the rebound to complete his hat trick.
  • Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe made one change to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. Teemu Tainio returned to the lineup for Mehdi Ballouchy.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1-3-2): Bouna Coundoul - Jan Gunnar Solli, Tim Ream, Rafael Marquez, Roy Miller (Stephen Keel 89) - Teemu Tainio (Mehdi Ballouchy 71) - Dane Richards (Juan Agudelo 71), Dwayne De Rosario, Joel Lindpere - Thierry Henry, Luke Rodgers.

NEW YORK RED BULLS - TEAM NEWS

  • While the Red Bulls saw their four-game unbeaten streak come to an against Chivas USA, they have scored 11 goals in that time – and Thierry Henry scored his fifth goal in that same stretch.
  • The Red Bulls had allowed just three goals total through their first eight games – a total that was matched in one night by Chivas.
  • "We were walking, hoping the next guy is going to take responsibility for clearing the ball and that's not the way we're supposed to do it," said defender Jan Gunnar Solli. "Everybody needs to look in the mirror and make sure to get the clearance away next time. I take responsibility for the first set play, and I'm sure there is somebody who could have done better on the third goal."
  • Of the six goals on the season allowed by the Red Bulls, three have come from set pieces – in the last two games.
  • “Conceding two goals like that on set plays is very sloppy,” Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said. “We responded OK ... but overall it is an effort that you don’t win too many games (with) in this league. You have to work much, much harder.”
  • Teemu Tainio was able to return to the lineup after missing the LA match with a groin strain. But Carl Robinson, who can fill Tainio’s role, suffered a knee injury in the midweek friendly vs. Montréal.
  • “What we did so well in the games before, that was really playing together well as a defense,” Tainio said. “That didn’t happen tonight, we didn’t all play defense. Too many mistakes.”
  • Dwayne De Rosario will be returning to Houston again as a visiting player, his first trip there with New York. In his last visit to his former club, he scored two goals with Toronto FC; he had an assist against the Dynamo in his Red Bulls debut on April 2.
  • “It was very difficult to leave [Houston],” De Rosario said. “Being with Dominic [Kinnear] for quite some time, we created a very good relationship and it was the same with quite a few of the players.”