Preview: Houston aim to stay unbeaten at home vs. Toronto

HOU-TOR-DL 6/20/2012

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HOUSTON DYNAMO vs TORONTO FC
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM, Houston, Texas
June 20, 2012 (WEEK 16, MLS Game #132)
9 p.m. ET (TSN/RDS; FS-H+; Multimedios)

The Houston Dynamo will be looking to keep their undefeated home record intact when they meet Toronto FC in a midweek encounter at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are still unbeaten in league play in their new ground, following a 2-1 win in the Texas derby against FC Dallas over the weekend. TFC opened the Paul Mariner coaching era with their 10th loss in 11 league starts, opening their road swing with a 2-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City.

REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. SAR (bench): Brian Poeschel; JAR (opposite): Mark Cahen; 4th: Jorge Luna Hernandez
MLS Career: 136 games; FC/gm: 25.0; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 48; pens: 50

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INJURY REPORT:

  • HOUSTON DYNAMO -- OUT: DF Kofi Sarkodie (R foot sprain); DF Alex Dixon (concussion)
  • TORONTO FC – OUT: DF Ty Harden (R adductor strain); FW Nicholas Lindsay (L knee surgery recovery); GK Stefan Frei (L lower leg); QUESTIONABLE: DF Aaron Maund (R eye hyphema); DF Dicoy Williams (R knee surgery recovery); DF Logan Emory (shoulder subluxation)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: TOR: Julian de Guzman
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Calen Carr

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (10 meetings): Dynamo 3 wins, 13 goals … Toronto FC 3 wins, 9 goals … Ties 4
AT HOUSTON (5 meetings): Dynamo 3 wins, 9 goals … Toronto FC 1 win, 3 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 7/28: Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo, 4:30 p.m. ET; 8/25: Houston Dynamo vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m. CT

LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/7: TOR 2, HOU 1 (Plata 50; Santos 81 – Palmer 87)
7/9: HOU 2, TOR 0 (Cruz 50; Cameron 81)
• Houston’s 2-0 victory in the final meeting at Robertson Stadium, last July 9, was the Dynamo’s first win vs. TFC since 2009. Toronto FC had won two in a row vs. Houston after two draws.
• Toronto FC have never lost to Houston at BMO Field, with two victories and three draws in five meetings all-time in Ontario.
• Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. TOR: P10 W3 L3 D4 … Paul Mariner vs. HOU: first game

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo remained undefeated in league play in their new home, defeating FC Dallas 2-1 on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with the Columbus Crew having taken 19 points from 13 games.
LAST MATCH

HIGHLIGHTS: Dynamo down FC Dallas in Texas Derby, 2-1

• The Dynamo took the lead in just the third minute. An attempted clear of a Calen Carr cross by FCD defender Hernan Pertuz found Will Bruin’s knee in the penalty area and the deflection flew past goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
• But FCD found the equalizer in the 59th minute. Some sterling build-up play saw an attempted shot blocked in the heart of the area -- but the fortunate carom fell to Jackson, who fired home with style.
• The game took an ugly turn in the 63rd minute. Dallas left back Jair Benitez elbowed Colin Clark to draw a straight red from referee Jair Marrufo, his third expulsion against Houston in three years.
• The sending off gave the Dynamo they advantage they needed to get back on the front foot. They got it two minutes later when Hartman flapped at a Brad Davis corner kick and the ball fell to Adam Moffat, who drove the ball into the roof of the goal.
• Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made three changes to the team that fell 3-1 to the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Jermaine Taylor, Geoff Cameron and Je-Vaughn Watson all returned from international duty, coming into the team for Warren Creavalle, Nathan Sturgis and Luiz Camargo.
• HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Jermaine Taylor, Geoff Cameron, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Calen Carr (Colin Clark 44), Adam Moffat, Je-Vaughn Watson (Luiz Camargo 75), Brad Davis - Will Bruin, Brian Ching (Macoumba Kandji 77).
TEAM NEWS
• The Dynamo have three wins and a draw in four league games at BBVA Compass Stadium, concluding a two-game homestand with the Toronto match.
• “We had a little bit of good play to start the second half and then with the red card it was kind of one-way traffic,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “The most important thing is the result and we won the game tonight so for that I’m very pleased.”
• Will Bruin scored his first goal of the season at home – after five goals on the road – to send the Dynamo on their way in their 2-1 win against FC Dallas.

WATCH: Home Sweet Home

• “I was actually giving Will some crap," said midfielder Brad Davis. "I told him, ‘You’ve got two goals off of the back of your head, a deflection off your shin and two missed breakaways,’ so we were just giving him crap. But I think for a forward a goal is a goal and anytime you can get your guys on the scoresheet it helps their confidence. It also helps the team and it certainly did tonight.”
• Bruin’s six goals are now one more than he had in his rookie season last year, four of which came in the first seven games of 2011.
• “I think it was a bit of a fortunate touch for Will," said Kinnear. "I like the way Will’s playing. I think also he’s probably a little bit faster than people give him credit for and he’s making good runs. He’s keeping himself very dangerous and anticipating the game action and he’s been very good for us.”
• The winning goal came from a corner kick, the fourth from a corner this season by Houston, most in MLS.
• “It was a fantastic win," said Adam Moffat who hammered home the game-winner. "We are a little bit disappointed that we them stay in the game longer than we should have. It was pretty open in the first half but again we showed great fight to get that goal. The guys kept battling and obviously the red card sort of changed it. We realized we need the three points here and I was happy to get that winning goal.”

TORONTO FC
Toronto FC were defeated in their first game under new head coach Paul Mariner, suffering a 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening at Livestrong Sporting Park. TFC are in last place in the Eastern Conference, with three points from 11 games.
LAST MATCH

HIGHLIGHTS: Toronto fall to Sporting KC, 2-0

• Sporting took the lead after 18 minutes. Chance Myers sent a ball down the right flank to Jacob Peterson on the overlap. Peterson's cross slipped through two TFC defenders in the area, and C.J. Sapong found the back of the net on the half-turn from the center of the box.
• SKC doubled their lead in the 35th minute. Graham Zusi sent in a corner kick from the left and Julio Cesar ripped it first-time from just outside the top right corner of the six-yard box into the roof of the net.
• TFC head coach Paul Mariner made four changes to the team that recorded a 1-0 win against Philadelphia Union at BMO Field in the last game in charge for Aron Winter. Richard Eckersley, Terry Dunfield, Eric Avila and Danny Koevermans came into the side for Ashtone Morgan, Julian de Guzman, Luis Silva and Joao Plata.
• TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Milos Kocic - Richard Eckersley, Doneil Henry, Adrian Cann (Ashtone Morgan 46), Jeremy Hall - Reggie Lambe (Julian de Guzman 62), Torsten Frings, Terry Dunfield, Eric Avila (Luis Silva 62) - Ryan Johnson, Danny Koevermans
TEAM NEWS
• The first game for Toronto FC under Paul Mariner ended the way nine of 10 games had with Aron Winter in charge this season: a loss, falling 2-0 at Sporting Kansas City.
• “The team showed tremendous strength and character," said Mariner. "I thought that the second half performance was excellent. It was a game of two very different halves. We really took it to them. Obviously, we were a bit stretched because we were pushing to get two goals back, so we were a little vulnerable on the break.”

WATCH: Mariner on Houston matchup

• For his first game in charge, Mariner set out his team in his preferred 4-4-2 scheme, after Aron Winter mainly used 4-3-3 and 3-4-3 formations in his time as head coach.
• “Obviously, it is going to take time to adjust to playing for a new coach and in a new formation, but everyone has a good mentality,” said defender Jeremy Hall. “It will take some time, but we are excited for the challenge.”
• Torsten Frings and Terry Dunfield filled the central midfield axis, with Reggie Lambe and Eric Avila pushing forward from wide midfield spots.
• “In the second half, we had our opportunities,” said Avila. “We've only had a week to work with Paul. He's been in this league. He knows what he’s doing. It's just tidying up the small things.”
• At the hour mark, Mariner brought on Julian de Guzman and Luis Silva for Lambe and Avila.
• “We tried to weather the storm, but they were coming out in waves,” said Mariner. “We changed it slightly for the first 15 [minutes] of the second half and went a little bit higher with the guys out wide. After 60 minutes, we completely changed the system. It just wasn’t meant to be tonight.”
• TFC have allowed multiple goals in eight of 11 league games this season – though they recorded shutouts in three of four Canadian Championship matches. They were shut out for the fourth time this season. “I lost count of the chances we had,” said Mariner. “I stopped at five but someone said we had seven.”
• “We went one goal down, and then two goals down," Mariner added. "A lot of teams in that situation would put their heads down and give up, but they didn’t. They rolled their sleeves up and I thought we did very well. I am very proud of the players. They were fantastic.