Preview: Rivals Dynamo, Quakes clash again in Texas

The Houston Dynamo and San Jose Earthquakes will renew their rivalry on Saturday night when the clubs face off at Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo are coming off a 2-2 road draw at midweek against a 10-man Columbus Crew that ended a two-game losing slide. The Earthquakes put a halt to their club-record 13-game winless streak last weekend, a 2-0 win against Chicago at Buck Shaw Stadium.

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REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. SAR (bench): Daniel Belleau; JAR (opposite): Eric Proctor; 4th: Armando Villarreal
MLS Career: 33 games; FC/gm: 28.3; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 6; pens: 4

INJURY REPORT: HOUSTON DYNAMO – OUT: MF Alex Dixon (L finger fracture); DF Eddie Robinson (R quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Brian Ching (L adductor strain) …

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES – OUT: MF Andre Luiz (L knee injury); DF Ike Opara (L foot injury); FW Alan Gordon (surgery); FW Steven Lenhart (family leave); DOUBTFUL: DF Justin Morrow (R hamstring strain); DF Jason Hernandez (L quadriceps strain); FW Scott Sealy (L groin strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SJ: Alan Gordon, Brad Ring, Sam Cronin
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Danny Cruz, Brad Davis, Hunter Freeman, Adam Moffat, Je-Vaughn Watson, Cam Weaver … SJ: Bobby Burling, Ramiro Corrales, Jason Hernandez, Chris Leitch, Steven Lenhart

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Dynamo 3 wins, 11 goals … Earthquakes 4 wins, 12 goals … Ties 1
AT HOUSTON (3 meetings): Dynamo 2 wins, 6 goals … Earthquakes 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 0
•    The teams renewed their rivalry on June 4 of this season in the first meeting, Steven Lenhart and Simon Dawkins scoring in the second half to lead the Quakes to a 2-0 victory June 4 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
•    The Dynamo won for the first time in four visits to Buck Shaw Stadium last year, after the Quakes won their first match at Robertson Stadium in the first meeting, in what’s become a rivalry of clubs sharing a common ancestry.
•    Coaches record: Frank Yallop vs. HOU: P14 W6 L5 D3 … Dominic Kinnear v SJ: P8 W3 L4 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS)
6/4: SJ 2, HOU 0 (Lenhart 69; Dawkins 92+)
•    The Quakes took the lead on 69 minutes. With plenty of time and space, right back Steven Beitashour delivered a bending ball into the box from deep on the right flank and Steven Lenhart split a pair of Houston defenders to powerfully head the ball to the near post, leaving Dynamo ‘keeper Tally Hall with no real chance.
•    The home side put away the game in second-half stoppage time. Simon Dawkins and Sam Cronin played a one-two in midfield, Dawkins running onto the return pass all along behind the Dynamo back line and easily slotting home past Hall.
•    SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-1-1): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez, Bobby Burling, Bobby Convey - Anthony Ampaipitakwong (Simon Dawkins 75), Sam Cronin, Brad Ring, Ramiro Corrales - Khari Stephenson (Brandon McDonald 82) - Steven Lenhart.
•    HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-3-2): Tally Hall - Hunter Freeman, Geoff Cameron, Bobby Boswell, Mike Chabala - Lovel Palmer - Danny Cruz (Corey Ashe 71), Brad Davis, Colin Clark - Will Bruin (Jason Garey 87), Cam Weaver.

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo put a stop to their two-game losing slide, coming back for a 2-2 draw Wednesday with the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. The Dynamo have 35 points from 28 games on the season, now in a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH
•    The Crew were down to 10 men after just 11 minutes when midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo by referee Chris Penso. The Dynamo then took the lead in the 34th minute, when Je-Vaughn got over Columbus defender Chad Marshall to snap a header past goalkeeper William Hesmer from a pinpoint cross from the right flank by Jermaine Taylor.
•    But the Crew pulled ahead on a pair of penalty kicks, both converted by Andres Mendoza. After Cam Weaver was ruled to have handled a cross in the 64th minute, Mendoza converted his first, then Penso again pointed to the spot 12 minutes later when Dilly Duka was fouled in a challenge by Watson, and Mendoza gave the home side the lead.
•    Yet the Dynamo had one final answer. Geoff Cameron ran out a through ball slipped in by Danny Cruz and cut a low cross into the heart of the area. Calen Carr turned onto it and lashed it first-time into the roof of the goal for the leveler.
•    Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made five changes to the team that went down to a 3-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park. Bobby Boswell returned from suspension and Je-Vaughn Watson and Luiz Camargo came into the midfield, with Hunter Freeman, Andre Hainault and Colin Clark all out of the side. Will Bruin and Cam Weaver returned as the strike pair in place of Brian Ching and the suspended Carlo Costly.
•    HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-3-2): Tally Hall - Jermaine Taylor, Geoff Cameron, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Adam Moffat - Je-Vaughn Watson (Danny Cruz 77), Luiz Camargo (Colin Clark 69), Brad Davis - Will Bruin (Calen Carr 68), Cam Weaver.

TEAM NEWS
•    With the point, the Dynamo moved into a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with Philadelphia, five points out of first place – but they’ve played more games than any other chief playoff contender.
•    “We’ve got to learn how to not get in these positions, to not do this to ourselves. … It’s kind of weird the way things are falling for us but he only thing we can do is keep plugging away,” said midfielder Brad Davis. “We still have five games left, so no matter how bad things are we’re not out of it so we’ve got to keep fighting away. It doesn’t matter how you get into the playoffs, as long as you get in anything can happen.”
•    Said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear: “They’re all important right now. This one, the next one, the one after that, there’s five games to go and they’re all important.”
•    Carr’s goal was his first with the Dynamo, since arriving just before the start of the season. His last goal was last Oct. 23, for the Chicago Fire; it came in his fourth appearance this season (all as a substitute).
•    Je-Vaughn Watson was making his first start since Aug. 17, and scored his first MLS goal.
•    “I think it was a great first goal, great ball and great finish by Je-Vaughn. On the second one Danny plays Jeff through, Jeff slides the ball and Calen finishes there at the end,” said Davis. “So there are a couple negatives but we’ve dug ourselves out of holes like that so many times this season. We’ve just got to have the mentality to see games like this off.”
•    Forward Will Bruin made his first appearance since July 30, after undergoing surgery on his left knee.
•    Midfielder Danny Cruz came off the bench in his first appearance since July 23, also because of injury.
•    Brazilian midfielder Luiz Carmago made his first MLS start, in the center of midfield, after making his league debut the weekend before as a substitute.
•    Jermaine Taylor started at right back, his first appearance as a fullback after eight turns in the first XI in central defense.
•    The Dynamo are still winless away from home, along with Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Three teams in MLS history have gone through the season without winning on their travels, last New York in 2009. Houston has two more road games remaining among their five regular-season contests.
•    “Every game from here on out is very important for us. We’re coming home against a San Jose team who won on the weekend and we always tend to have good games against them. It’s going to be another tough game but we’re excited to get back home in front of our home fans,” said Davis. “Hopefully we can get three (points) in front of our home fans and make a nice push here at the end.”

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes put an end to their winless streak after 13 games, defeating the Chicago Fire 2-0 on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes have 29 points from 27 games on the season, sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH
•    The Earthquakes went ahead in the 10th minute. Rafael Baca unhurriedly collected a throw-in on the left wing and sent a curling ball to the back post where Chris Wondolowski met it with a full-blooded volley that Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson got his right hand to but couldn’t keep out.
•    The Quakes then doubled their lead in the 69th minute when Ramiro Corrales ran onto a return pass from Wondolowski through Khari Stephenson on a give-and-go and slipped in alone on goal, tucking his shot neatly inside the left post.
•    Earthquakes boss Frank Yallop made three changes to the team that came back for a late 1-1 draw at Toronto FC at BMO Field. Steven Beitashour returned from suspension in place of Chris Leitch, Sam Cronin came in for the injured Justin Morrow, and Khari Stephenson started in place of the suspended Bobby Convey.
•    SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez (Nana Attakora 61), Bobby Burling, Ramiro Corrales - Joey Gjertsen (Jacob Peterson 80), Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca, Simon Dawkins - Khari Stephenson, Chris Wondolowski (Matt Luzunaris 91+).

TEAM NEWS
•    The Earthquakes won for the first time since June 4, a 4-2 victory at D.C. United, in snapping their club record winless streak. The Quakes were 0-6-7 during the skid.
•    “I think the word would be “relief”. We played well tonight and deserved the three points,” said San Jose head coach Frank Yallop. “As a coach, I don’t look at runs, I look at performances, and I think we’ve performed very well the last six games. Hopefully we can go to Houston with a fresh attitude, and if we can win there, we’ll be right back in it.”
•    Chris Wondolowski scored for a second consecutive week and raised his season total to 10 goals, now in a tie for fourth in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
•    “It took a little bit of concentration and execution on our part. I thought the movement was there in the first half, we just couldn’t connect on some passes. Those miscues led to them taking possession, but we held our ground,” Wondolowski said. “In the second half, we connected our passes and executed on our chances.”
•    Wondolowski had a glorious chance to hit for a second when Jalil Anibaba was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box, but Fire goalkeeper stopping Wondolowski’s penalty kick.
•    “I am a little disappointed I couldn’t get that second goal, but I am thankful for our defense and Ramiro (Corrales) to clean up and get us the 2-0 win,” said Wondolowski.
•    The game in Houston starts a run of five games out of the next six on the road for the Earthquakes. They have just two games remaining on the season at Buck Shaw Stadium; they are 2-6-4 on their travels.
•    “Our approach has been the same the past couple of games; we’ve just been a little bit unlucky,” said Ramiro Corrales. “I think in Toronto we played very well. We had our chances up there but just couldn’t come away with a win. We came back home and finally got that victory. And it feels good to do it here at home.”
•    With Justin Morrow, who was given the start at left back the previous week, injured in training, Corrales moved back to the left side of defense. Rafael Baca made his second consecutive start, and third of the season, in the center of the park.
•    “Ramiro was very good tonight, and of course he scored the second goal. His general play is fantastic right now. He’s our captain and I think his play is indicative of what he’s done all year,” Yallop said. “I’m very happy for Rafa; good player, good kid. He’ll continue to see time if he keeps playing like that.”
•    It was the first defensive shutout for the Earthquakes since July 16 (eight games), and their first shutout victory since defeating Houston in the first meeting this season (June 4). The Quakes had settled for draws in each of  their previous three shutouts.
•    “(Jon) Busch was the man of the match and our defense played great. To get a shutout against that team, it makes this win that much more special, ” said Wondolowski.