Preview: Houston finish off long road trip in New York

NEW YORK RED BULLS vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
May 9, 2012 (WEEK 10, MLS Game #86)
7 p.m. ET (MSG; FS-SW+/Multimedios)

The New York Red Bulls put their two-game winning streak on the line when they return home to entertain the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls are coming off back-to-back 1-0 victories, last weekend winning at the LA Galaxy. The Dynamo are concluding their season-opening seven-game road swing, their last match a 3-2 loss at D.C. United two weekends ago.

REFEREE: Sorin Stoica. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Hilario Grajeda
MLS Career: First game.

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INJURY REPORT:

  • NEW YORK RED BULLS -- OUT: MF Teemu Tainio (R knee sprain); FW Thierry Henry (R hamstring strain); FW Jose Angulo (R knee sprain); DF Stephen Keel (back strain); DF Roy Miller (L knee effusion); DF Wilman Conde (L groin strain); PROBABLE: FW Juan Agudelo (L knee surgery recovery); DF Jan Gunnar Solli (L calf strain)
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO -- OUT: FW Brian Ownby (L elbow dislocation); FW Colin Rolfe (R hamstring strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Dane Richards

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (12 meetings): Red Bulls 3 wins, 14 goals ... Dynamo 2 wins, 14 goals ... Ties 7

AT NEW YORK (6 meetings): Red Bulls 3 wins, 9 goals ... Dynamo 0 wins, 4 goals ... Ties 3

RETURN MATCHES: 8/3: Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls, 7 p.m. CT (NBC SN); 8/10: New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo, 8 p.m. ET (NBC SN)

LAST YEAR (MLS):

4/2: NY 1, HOU 1 (Richards 47 - Weaver 50)
5/21: HOU 2, NY 2 (Davis 12; Koke 82 - Richards 1; Ballouchy 90)

  • The Dynamo haven't defeated New York since a 1-0 win May 31, 2008. The Red Bulls have won three of the nine league and MLS Cup meetings since, with six draws (including the last three meetings).
  • The teams have played to draws in their last three league meetings in Houston. But the Red Bulls will close out their Robertson Stadium history having never a regular-season game there (0-2-4) - though they did win the second leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal Series in 2008.
  • The Dynamo have never won at New York, with three wins and four draws in seven league and MLS Cup meetings all-time.
  • Coaches record: Hans Backe v HOU: P4 W1 L0 D3 ... Dominic Kinnear vs. NY: P17 W5 L4 D8

NEW YORK RED BULLS

The New York Red Bulls ground out a second consecutive 1-0 triumph, this time knocking off the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. The Red Bulls are in third place in the Eastern Conference, with 16 points from 9 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: RBNY get second straight shutout in LA

LAST MATCH

  • The game's only goal came after 19 minutes. Jan Gunnar Solli carried the ball down the left flank and slipped a pass inside to Joel Lindpere, who burst through midfield untracked. With Galaxy defenders collapsing around him, Lindpere knocked the ball through a crowd and past goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.
  • Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara was credited with four saves in recording a second consecutive shutout.
  • Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe made one change to the team that held on for a 1-0 victory against the New England Revolution. Jan Gunnar Solli came into the team in place of Thierry Henry.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1-4-1): Ryan Meara - Brandon Barklage, Tyler Ruthven, Markus Holgersson, Connor Lade - Dax McCarty - Dane Richards, Mehdi Ballouchy (Victor Palsson 77), Joel Lindpere, Jan Gunnar Solli (Juan Agudelo 82) - Kenny Cooper.

TEAM NEWS

The Daily 5/08 - How will RBNY handle returnees?

  • Backe did not change his back four, which had a combined 23 games of MLS experience entering the New England match - now the first of back-to-back 1-0 shutouts.
  • "It's such an un-experienced back four, I think they have 20 games together, and it is their second clean sheet. The whole team just worked their ass off," said Backe. "Normally when you have so many starters out you are forced to defend and they did in phenomenally. It was a definite team effort. They were under pressure but didn't allow them a real opportunity, a lot of crosses and half chances, and Ryan [Meara] once again was phenomenal."
  • After going his first seven professional games without a shutout, conceding 14 goals, rookie goalkeeper Meara has kept a clean sheet in each of the Red Bulls' last two wins.
  • "We got a goal early and did what we had to do to keep the clean sheet and win the game," said Meara. "It was a full team effort again, and I think it is good to play these tight games, sometimes when our back is up against the wall we learn how to grind out these victories, it was another great win."
  • Joel Lindpere moved from the left side of midfield to his preferred spot in the center of the park, and scored his first goal of the season.
  • "I like to play in the middle because you can be more involved with the ball, and I know myself, the more I get the ball the more confidence I get," Lindpere said. "I will play where I need to play. If we have healthy guys in the middle then I probably need to move back to the left, but the most important part to me is to play. If I feel fit and healthy, I just want to play."
  • Dax McCarty again filled the role as a defensive screen in front of the back four, with Kenny Cooper tasked as the lone striker.
  • "The second game in a row with zero behind, and a win is a win whether it is 5-0 or 1-0, it is still three points," said Lindpere. "I think a tough 1-0 win feels better though, it was a great team effort for the second game in a row, definitely a team win."
  • Jan Gunnar Solli returned to action after missing the New England match with a calf strain. But he moved forward to play on the left of midfield, after playing every minute of the first seven games at left back.
  • "He's a machine," Backe said. "Fitness-wise that is a guy who is absolutely top fit, all year round."
  • Juan Agudelo made his first appearance since the season opener for the Red Bulls in the win against the Galaxy, coming on as a substitute. Agudelo suffered a knee injury while playing for the U.S. U-23 national team in the Olympic qualification tournament.
  • "It will be tougher for us of course with [Thierry Henry] out for 3-4 weeks, we are going to miss his goals and assists," said Backe. "But I still think Agudelo can be good for 20-25 minutes every game and we will get him in until Thierry is back."
  • The Red Bulls should also have both Roy Miller and Rafa Marquez back from injury and suspension, respectively. Miller should regain his place at left back, but whether Marquez comes into the side for Dax McCarty is less clear.
  • "I always said and thought that [McCarty's] strength was from the halfway line and forward," Backe said. "But now perhaps playing a little bit deeper he has the whole picture of the field in front of him. His passing, he only had two, three unforced errors in this game [against LA]. Overall, defending phenomenal, so let's see if that is perhaps his position for the future."

HOUSTON DYNAMO

The Houston Dynamo return to action after another weekend off, their last match a 3-2 loss to D.C. United at RFK Stadium. The Dynamo are tied for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 8 points from 6 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: Houston drop a wild one in DC

LAST MATCH

  • United once again got off to a flying start. In the 11th minute, a long ball out of the back from Brandon McDonald found Chris Pontius behind the defense, and he touched the ball around on-rushing Houston ëkeeper Tally Hall before finding an unmarked Maicon Santos for a header from the spot.
  • The Dynamo pulled level in the 50th minute through Will Bruin. Jermaine Taylor placed a pinpoint cross in the box from the left corner, which the unmarked Bruin volleyed in from six yards out.
  • But United were back ahead through Dwayne De Rosario in the 54th minute. After a corner was partially cleared, the Canadian international whipped a ball in from the left side that slithered past everyone, including Hall, as the ball curled in off the far post.
  • Just five minutes later though, the Dynamo again were level. Bruin pounced on a loose ball outside the United box and fired dipping shot on frame that slipped under goalkeeper Joe Willis.
  • But Maicon Santos wasn't to be outdone. In the 70th minute, he rose highest to meet a Daniel Woolard cross, nodding it off Hall's hand to the back of the net for the eventual game-winner.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made no changes to the team that reached a 2-2 result with the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Andre Hainault (Brad Davis 72), Geoff Cameron, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor - Je-Vaughn Watson (Calen Carr 59), Adam Moffat, Luiz Camargo, Corey Ashe (Kofi Sarkodie 82) - Will Bruin, Brian Ching.

TEAM NEWS

Cutting the Ribbon on BBVA Compass Stadium

  • The Dynamo have scored two goals in each of their last two games - more than their entire output over the first four - yet have come away with just a single point.
  • "Disappointed, we fought back to get back into the game twice," Dynamo boss Dominic Kinnear said. "We aren't helping ourselves by giving up some poor goals, but on the other side we are scoring goals on the road, which is a good thing. [D.C.] just scored one more goal than us."
  • But Houston has allowed multiple goals in three of their last four matches, conceding a season-high to D.C. United.
  • "I thought we gave up some bad goals," Kinnear said. "The positive is we're scoring goals on the road, but we're giving the ball away in some bad areas and we're getting punished for it."
  • Will Bruin hit for the second multiple-goal game of his MLS career. His first also came against D.C. United - exactly 355 days previous, when he scored a hat trick in a 4-1 Dynamo win April 29, 2011 at Robertson Stadium. Bruin now has four goals in the last three games, with at least a goal in each. He has four of Houston's last five goals.
  • "Maybe it's just D.C.," Bruin said. "I didn't think I played too well in the first half, so we wanted to come out and create some opportunities in the second half and I feel like I did that."
  • After sitting out two matches with a calf strain, Brad Davis was able to return to action, coming on as a substitute for the final 18 minutes.
  • "It was a tough situation for him to come into after being out injured a few weeks," Bruin said. "I thought he did very well and he gives us confidence being back in the lineup and brings some great service in."
  • The Dynamo will again have midfielder Colin Clark, after he finished serving his three-game suspension with the United game. Clark has not played since the March 23 game in Seattle; a hamstring injury shortly after the suspension ruled him out of two reserve matches in the meantime.
  • "Those [reserve games] would've been good for game minutes but I've been training hard and doing extra running after training," Clark said. "Mentally, I've just been trying to get through it, and I'm ready for whatever minutes I get."
  • The trip to New York will conclude the Dynamo's seven-game road swing to start the season. They open BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday with a rematch against United.
  • "Obviously we're very excited for it and we want the home opener to happen right away, but we still have one more game on the road trip," Will Bruin said. "Sometimes you have a tendency to look past the game because it's the home opener but then we get a reality check and realize that we have to get three points there. It would be a lot of momentum if we could go to New York and get a win for the home opener."
  • With a win, the Dynamo will match the best record on an extended road trip to open an MLS season, of the five clubs that have now done it. The Columbus Crew took 11 points from their season-opening seven-game road trip to start 1999. The Dynamo have eight from the first six games of their seven-game road start.