Preview: East positioning at stake as Dynamo host Crew

Houston vs. Columbus

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ROBERTSON STADIUM, Houston, Texas
7:30 p.m. CT (KHOU/FS-H+/Azteca; ONN)
June 18, 2011 (WEEK 14; MLS Game 134)

The Houston Dynamo remain at home for a second consecutive weekend when they play host to the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo won for the first time in more than a month last time out, a 2-1 come-from-behind win against Chivas USA. The Crew lost for the first time in four games, a 1-0 loss at home to the Chicago Fire.

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REFEREE: Jasen Anno. SAR (bench): Fabio Tovar; JAR (opposite): Ian Anderson; 4th: Juan Guzman
MLS Career: 25 games; FC/gm: 22.9; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 16; pens: 7

INJURY REPORT: HOUSTON DYNAMO — OUT: FW Calen Carr (concussion); DOUBTFUL: DF Eddie Robinson (L knee MCL sprain) ... COLUMBUS CREW — OUT: DF Josh Williams (R hip labral tear); MF Danny O'Rourke (L knee surgery); MF Dilly Duka (R ankle sprain); MF Leandro Griffit (abdominal strain); DOUBTFUL: Emilio Renteria (L quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Tommy Heinemann (L hamstring strain); FW Jeff Cunningham (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: FW Santiago Prim (R ankle sprain); FW Bernardo Anor (L ankle sprain); FW Andres Mendoza (L wrist fracture)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: HOU: Jermaine Taylor, Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica) ... CLB: Robbie Rogers (USA)
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CLB: Emmanuel Ekpo
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Kevin Burns, Julius James ... HOU: Brad Davis, Lovel Palmer

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (10 meetings): Dynamo 2 wins, 9 goals ... Crew 3 wins, 11 goals ... Ties 5
AT HOUSTON (5 meetings): Dynamo 1 win, 5 goals ... Crew 0 wins, 3 goals ... Ties 4
RETURN MATCH: 9/14: Columbus Crew vs. Houston Dynamo, 7:30 p.m. ET

LAST YEAR (MLS):
7/10: HOU 0, CLB 0
7/24: CLB 3, HOU 0 (Renteria 34; Iro 84; Griffit 90)
•    The Crew have never won at Robertson Stadium. But in five all-time meetings there, the Dynamo have won just once (2-0 in 2008); the other four results have been draws.
•    The Crew have won the last three meetings at Crew Stadium.
•    Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. CLB: P14 W4 L5 D5 ... Robert Warzycha vs. HOU: P4 W2 L0 D2

HOUSTON DYNAMO

The Houston Dynamo snapped their winless streak at seven games, coming back for a 2-1 win Saturday against Chivas USA at Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo have 18 points from 15 games on the season, sitting in a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH
•    Chivas scored after just seven minutes. Marcos Mondaini poached a botched Hunter Freeman back pass and pushed the ball around an on-rushing Tally Hall, slotting home from a tight angle.
•    Geoff Cameron scored the equalizer in the 29th minute, heading home from the penalty spot on a Brad Davis free kick swung in from out on the right touchline.
•    The winner came in the 55th minute. A Davis corner kick was knocked back out from the goalmouth by Michael Lahoud, but the ball ricocheted off Heath Pearce's leg and back past Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
•    Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that lost 2-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Eddie Robinson and Corey Ashe came into the team for Mike Chabala - and Danny Cruz.
•    HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Hunter Freeman, Eddie Robinson (Danny Cruz 56), Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Colin Clark (Mike Chabala 83), Lovel Palmer, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis - Will Bruin, Cam Weaver (Brian Ching 70).

TEAM NEWS
•    The Dynamo won for the first time since April 29 in the victory, extending their Robertson Stadium unbeaten streak to nine vs. Chivas USA.
•    "I'm happy we won," Houston coach Dominic Kinnear said. "It's been awhile. Give the guys credit for coming out of halftime determined. ... It was kind of a fluky goal. And a little bit of luck touched us, which we haven't had in a while and it's good to see.
•    Brad Davis contributed his league-leading ninth assist, leading the Dynamo comeback in their 2-1 win against Chivas USA. Three of the assists have come on set piece services.
•    Eddie Robinson returned to the lineup after missing five games to injury, making just his second start of the season. But he was forced off early in the second half after straining the medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
•    "If there's ever a time you don't want an injury, it's right now when you're trying to establish yourself on the team when there's minutes available," said Robinson. "So that's frustrating. I'm very frustrated to miss a day of training. This is the first day of training I've missed this year. More than anything, I'm just frustrated. I'm not in much pain."
•    The Dynamo were aiding by Panama's last-second equalizer in Gold Cup on Monday, which eliminated Canada from the competition, meaning defender AndrÈ Hainault should be available.
•    "With Eddie going down, obviously there's a need for another defender to come in that has played and has some experience," Kinnear said. "You don't want to wish ill will on one of those guys, but you do wish those guys can come back as soon as possible."
•    Brian Ching was able to make his first appearance since May 4, coming on in the 70th minute.
•    "It's always difficult getting fit," Ching said. "But by playing, I think that's the way you get fittest the quickest. It was a good start on Saturday."

COLUMBUS CREW

The Columbus Crew couldn't build on a midweek victory, falling 2-1 to the Chicago Fire on Sunday afternoon at Crew Stadium. The Crew have 18 points from 14 games on the season, in a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH
•    The game's lone goal came just after the clock turned over the 90-minute mark. Orr Barouch dribbled through a host of Crew defenders on the right side of the box before firing a shot that Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer was able to get a hand to. But he merely stopped the ball for Cristian Nazarit, who swept into the goal.
•    Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was not called upon to make a single save in recording the shutout.
•    Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made one change to the team that came back for a 2-1 victory against Real Salt Lake at Crew Stadium. Justin Meram came into the midfield for Kevin Burns.
•    COLUMBUS CREW (4-1-3-2): William Hesmer - Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Josh Gardner - Rich Balchan - Eddie Gaven, Emmanuel Ekpo, Justin Meram (Dejan Rusmir 52) - Jeff Cunningham (Kevin Burns 73), Andres Mendoza.

TEAM NEWS

•    The Crew did not register a single shot on goal or win a single corner kick in the loss. It was the first time the club had gone without a shot on goal since a 2-0 loss to Chicago to open the 2002 season.
•    "We did not have any offense whatsoever," Warzycha said. "We could not do anything."
•    After taking (and scoring) the penalty kick that could have given Jeff Cunningham the all-time MLS goalscoring lead, Crew striker AndrÈs Mendoza issued an apology. The pair started in attack together against Chicago, Cunningham removed after 73 minutes.
•    "Too many guys had a bad game today — too many at once, put it that way," Warzycha said. "Chicago was a team that wanted it more. When you have a combination of a team that wants it more and good players, obviously you're going to lose the game."
•    Earlier this season, the Crew managed to take points from two games when they were shutout, in scoreless draws. They've now lost three of their last six, all while being shut out, and two by 1-0 scorelines.
•    "This is the problem," said defender Sebastian Miranda. "We have to play the same way we did against Salt Lake. We would win all the games. I don't know why, but sometimes we are very good and sometimes we are very bad."
•    With a dearth of attacking options because of injury, Warzycha brought on a pair of mainly defensive substitutions in second-half changes, Kevin Burns and Dejan Rusmir. Aaron Horton, who made his professional debut vs. Real Salt Lake, was an unused substitute.
•    "I was trying to help the midfielders and the team possess the ball," Warzycha said. "It was a completely different game than Salt Lake. Salt Lake was more emotional. [Horton] was fired up. Here, I'm asking the kid to change the result or the way we're playing. I couldn't throw him under the bus."
•    Warzycha said he hoped both Emilio Renteria and Tommy Heinemann would be available for the Houston match. Renteria has missed the last four games, while Heinemann has missed the last two.