Preview: Dynamo, DC open BBVA Compass on NBC Sports

HOUSTON DYNAMO vs D.C. UNITED
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM, Houston, Texas
May 12, 2012 (WEEK 10, MLS Game #90)
4:30 p.m. ET (NBC SN)

It's the grand opening of Major League Soccer's newest palace for the Beautiful Game as the Houston Dynamo make their long-awaited BBVA Compass Stadium debut against D.C. United on Saturday afternoon. The Dynamo return home after a seven-game road trip, winless in their last five, after a 1-0 loss at New York at midweek. United are on the third game of a road swing of their own, rebounding for a 2-0 win at Toronto FC last weekend.

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Bill Dittmar; 4th: Daniel Fitzgerald
MLS Career: 64 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 14; pens: 9

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INJURY REPORT:

  • HOUSTON DYNAMO -- OUT: DF Kofi Sarkodie (R foot sprain); GK Erich Marscheider (R shoulder sprain); FW Brian Ownby (L elbow dislocation)
  • D.C. UNITED - OUT: MF Lance Rozeboom (L ACL tear); DF Emiliano Dudar (L hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Marcelo Saragosa (R soleus strain); MF Nick DeLeon (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Dejan Jakovic (L ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MF Kurt Morsink (L foot neurectomy); FW Josh Wolff (L hamstring strain); DF Ethan White (R knee surgery)

NBC Sports Preview: Dynamo vs. D.C. United

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (13 meetings): Dynamo 7 wins, 22 goals ... United 4 wins, 15 goals ... Ties 2
AT HOUSTON (6 meetings): Dynamo 5 wins, 12 goals ... United 0 wins, 4 goals ... Ties 1
FUTURE MATCH: 7/15: Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United, 8 p.m. CT (Galavision)

  • United have never won in Houston, in six all-time visits. The Dynamo have a three-game home winning streak alive vs. D.C. United.
  • United's win in the first meeting this year was their first since a 1-0 triumph April 4, 2009 at RFK Stadium. The Dynamo had four of the previous five meetings, with one draw.
  • Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. DC: P18 W8 L6 D4 ... Ben Olsen v HOU: P4 W1 L2 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS):
4/28: DC 3, HOU 2: (Maicon Santos 11, 70; De Rosario 54 - Bruin 50, 59)

  • 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.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Joe Willis - Robbie Russell, Brandon McDonald, Emiliano Dudar (Marcelo Saragosa 44), Daniel Woolard - Danny Cruz (Andy Najar 65), Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon - Dwayne De Rosario - Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius (Lewis Neal 83).
  • 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.

HOUSTON DYNAMO

The Houston Dynamo concluded their long season-opening road swing with a second consecutive loss, their winless run at five after a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Dynamo are tied for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 8 points from 6 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: Houston's road trip ends with loss in NY

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came after seven minutes. Kenny Cooper raced onto a lazy back pass from Dynamo defender Corey Ashe, and deflected the ball into the back of the net as goalkeeper Tally Hall attempted to clear.
  • Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara was called upon to make three saves on the night in recording a third consecutive shutout.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made four changes to the team that went down to a 3-2 loss to D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Calen Carr, Brad Davis, Macoumba Kandji and Cam Weaver came into the team, in place of Andre Hainault, Je-Vaughn Watson, Will Bruin and Brian Ching.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Jermaine Taylor, Geoff Cameron, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Calen Carr, Adam Moffat, Luiz Camargo (Alex Dixon 56), Brad Davis - Macoumba Kandji (Colin Clark 73), Cam Weaver (Will Bruin 61).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo conclude their road trip while awaiting the completion of BBVA Compass Stadium with two wins, three losses and two draws - after starting it with a pair of victories.
  • "(Being on the road) is not so bad. I just wished we had more games played; the breaks in between games were too much," said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. But to be able to play in a new stadium that's very exciting. We've been playing for three months now and it's only been seven games, you want to get into a rhythm of playing games instead of training all the time."
  • After scoring two goals in each of the last two games, the Dynamo were shut out for the first time since the 2-0 loss at Seattle on March 23.
  • Houston veterans getting excited for opener

  • "We gave up an early goal and went searching for the equalizer and had a lot of the play and had some chances, but just couldn't find the goal today," Kinnear said. "This group's always the same. I'm never left questioning their attitude and commitment trying to get back into games. These guys are professionals and they care and it shows in the way they play."
  • For the first time this season, the Dynamo did not start the strike tandem of Brian Ching and Will Bruin. Bruin came on for the final half-hour; Ching did not figure in the match.
  • After three substitute appearances, Macoumba Kandji made his first start of the season. Cam Weaver was also given his first start of the season.
  • "Things like this happen. I think we were really close and we dominated most of the game but we were just unlucky at the end, we couldn't get that final finishing touch at the end, Kandji said. "I can't really say anything but to give them credit for hanging in there 90 minutes after the goal."
  • Brad Davis started his first match since March 23, missing two matches with a calf strain before coming on as a substitute against D.C. United.
  • "I feel like we were the better team and we moved the ball well and had the chances," Davis said. "We're very disappointed about this and I'm taking this one pretty hard and putting this one on my shoulders. I had a number of chances and I have to score one of those opportunities. Those are opportunities you pray for all year long and I have to do better with my opportunities."
  • Corey Ashe made his return to the back four where he had started two of the opening three games this season.

D.C. UNITED

D.C. United won for the third time in four games, rebounding for a 2-0 victory against Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. United are in third place in the Eastern Conference with 18 points from 11 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: United prolong Toronto's woes

LAST MATCH

  • Seconds after a handball on the line appeared to have kept out a United goal, the visitors struck. Chris Pontius took a pass outside the area and lashed a left-footed rocket into the top left corner for the 55th-minute opener.
  • United's Hamdi Salihi, who came on as a substitute in the 71st minute, put the game away in the 75th in the wake of a corner kick. After the initial set piece was cleared, Brandon McDonald headed the ball back into the area, and Salihi fired it home expertly from a half-turn.
  • United head coach Ben Olsen made four changes to the team that fell 5-3 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Bill Hamid made his return to goalkeeping duties, replacing Joe Willis. Andy Najar, Chris Korb and Lewis Neal came into the team, in place of Robbie Russell, Marcelo Saragosa and Nick DeLeon.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Bill Hamid - Andy Najar, Daniel Woolard, Brandon McDonald, Chris Korb - Danny Cruz, Perry Kitchen, Lewis Neal (Branko Boskovic 46) - Dwayne De Rosario - Maicon Santos (Hamdi Salihi 71), Chris Pontius (Stephen King 65).

TEAM NEWS

  • Just 72 hours after opening their three-game road trip with a 5-3 loss in San Jose - the most goals United have allowed in nearly five years, since a 5-2 loss at Los Angeles on Sept. 20, 2008 - they kept their first clean sheet in six matches.
  • "If you look at [the back four] it was an attacking lineup," said Brandon McDonald. "Andy [Najar] is flying up and down, [Chris] Korb is the same way.  There were just more attacking options for us to keep the ball."
  • The back four included three players - Chris Korb, Daniel Woolard, and Andy Najar - all playing out of their natural positions.
  • Korb shifted to the left side of the back four, while Najar - who made his name on club and international level after his performances as a winger - moved to right back. It was a position he had played in his days in the United academy.
  • "I was surprised when they put me at right back," Najar said. "But if there are more opportunities to play there then I will take advantage of them. I'll gladly take the responsibility of playing right back and do my best for the team."
  • Power 5: Klinsmann's Radar - Pontius for USMNT?

  • Said Ben Olsen: "You see some things out there that maybe - against a better team - could have cost us. Just as far as his positioning and not knowing the position. Saying that, he did a lot of great things too. On the offensive side his instincts are good and his passing out of the back was good. He also made a play or two that kept us in the game early. I thought he did a great job."
  • Daniel Woolard, who played at fullback in San Jose, moved inside to partner Brandon McDonald.  McDonald assisted on both United goal from his spot.
  • Goalkeeper Bill Hamid recorded the shutout in making his first appearance for United since the season opener, after suffering an injury while playing for the U.S. U-20 national team in their failed Olympic qualification effort.
  • "Every last player was first class," said Hamid. "It was a makeshift back line because this is a tough stretch of games, but we have faith in every single player on this team."
  • After going his first six appearances with United without hitting the back of the net, Hamdi Salihi has scored in back-to-back games - both after coming on as a substitute.
  • "Normally when you don't score, you are angry with yourself," Salihi said. "You lose a bit of confidence, but I always try to believe in myself, and wait for my moments. And I knew when the first goal came, the second, third, and fourth ones would be easier."
  • "I think we're seeing now what he's about," Olsen said of Salihi. "He doesn't need many opportunities to score goals. Forwards are streaky, and they go through runs, and they're human so they go through confidence issues, [but] he's done great. He wants more. He wants to play more, and I don't blame him, and he's making me make some tough decisions."