Preview: Red Bulls, Dynamo battle for top spot in East

NEW YORK RED BULLS vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
August 10, 2012 (WEEK 23, MLS Game #214)
8 p.m. ET (NBC SN)

The New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo meet for the second time in a week, in the back end of their home-and-home series on Friday night at Red Bull Arena. Last Friday, at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, the Dynamo took a 2-0 victory, extending their long undefeated streak and jumping over the Red Bulls into a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference. The victory also extended the Dynamo’s winning streak to five games; the Red Bulls have lost back-to-back contests for the first time since the start of the season.

REFEREE: Chris Penso. AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Eric Proctor; 4th: Ted Unkel
MLS Career: 26 games; FC/gm: 21.9; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 6; pens: 10

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE HERE (PDF)

INJURY REPORT:

  • NEW YORK RED BULLS – OUT: DF Brandon Barklage (R hamstring strain); GK Ryan Meara (hip injury); QUESTIONABLE: DF Rafa Marquez (L calf strain)
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO -- QUESTIONABLE: FW Calen Carr (L knee swelling)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Kenny Cooper, Joel Lindpere, Victor Palsson … HOU: Calen Carr, Corey Ashe

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (14 meetings): Red Bulls 4 wins, 15 goals … Dynamo 3 wins, 16 goals … Ties 7
AT NEW YORK (7 meetings): Red Bulls 4 wins, 10 goals … Dynamo 0 wins, 4 goals … Ties 3

2012 (MLS)
5/9: NY 1, HOU 0 (Cooper 7)
8/3: HOU 2, NY 0 (Taylor 2, Carr 28)

  • The teams are meeting in the back end of a home-and-home series, after the Dynamo won 2-0 on Aug. 3 at BBVA Compass Stadium behind goals from Jermaine Taylor and Calen Carr.
  • The Dynamo victory snapped a 10-game winless streak against New York, since a 1-0 win May 31, 2008. The Red Bulls had won four of the 10 league and MLS Cup meetings in between, with six draws.
  • A Kenny Cooper goal gave the Red Bulls a 1-0 victory May 9 at Red Bull Arena. The Dynamo have never won at New York, with four losses and four draws in eight league and MLS Cup meetings all-time.
  • Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. NY: P19 W6 L5 D8 … Hans Backe v HOU: P6 W2 L1 D3

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • The Dynamo took the lead after just two minutes. Brad Davis delivered a free kick to the back post, and after some pinging around the box, Andre Hainault fired a shot across the front of the goal and Jermaine Taylor met the ball with his knee at the right post, knocking it across the goal line.
  • Houston doubled the lead in the 28th minute. Macoumba Kandji hit a beautiful swerving ball to the back post, where Calen Carr skied over a defender to park a header just inside the far post.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-3-3): Tally Hall - Andre Hainault, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Boniek Garcia, Adam Moffat, Brad Davis - Calen Carr (Je-Vaughn Watson 74), Will Bruin (Brian Ching 56), Macoumba Kandji (Luiz Camargo 81).
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Bill Gaudette - Heath Pearce, Markus Holgersson, Wilman Conde (Joel Lindpere 70), Roy Miller - Jan Gunnar Solli (Kenny Cooper 55), Teemu Tainio (Victor Palsson 46), Tim Cahill, Connor Lade - Sebastien Le Toux, Thierry Henry.

 
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls lost for a second game on the trot in the defeat in Houston. The Red Bulls now sit in third place in the Eastern Conference, with 38 points from 23 games.

TEAM NEWS

  • Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe made three changes that fell 3-1 to the Montréal Impact at Stade Saputo. Tim Cahill made his Red Bulls debut, coming into the team with Teemu Tainio and Heath Pearce, in place of Joel Lindpere, Dax McCarty and Kenny Cooper.
  • The Red Bulls have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season since opening the campaign with defeats at FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake.
  • “Defending-wise, we were all over the place with no attacking game, too many unforced errors. We couldn’t really create anything over 90 minutes,” said Backe. “ … We have to definitely look at the video and go through our defending game and our attacking game because we need to do something to match them.”
  • Tim Cahill made his Red Bulls and MLS debut, playing 90 minutes in the center of the park. “That wasn’t the plan. When we were doing these subs, we were thinking of doing 60 minutes and then taking him out,” said Backe. “He is a hard worker with a phenomenal attitude and spirit. It was the only choice but he didn’t pick up any injuries, so that’s good.”
  • Said Cahill: “I trained once with this team and then play the whole 90 minutes; it’s pretty full on. I think that this is what is going to be expected with MLS. I keep trying to prepare myself to go again because there are a few injuries and as you’ve seen tonight, I think lads went off and there were already three subs made.”
  • Teemu Tainio also made his first appearance in the Red Bulls lineup since March 31, when he played the second half as a substitute vs. Montréal. It was his first start since the second match of the season.
  • With Cahill and Tainio installed in central midfield, there was no room for Joel Lindpere – who Backe says will have to feature in a wide role in the team.
  • “It doesn’t work centrally. He’s more of a wide player who can tuck in in the attacking game. He’s not a guy who wins 50-50 [balls] and put pressure on midfield,” said Backe. “He’s a guy who needs time and space on the ball and then create for crosses and one-twos and things like that.”
  • Said Lindpere: “That makes the team stronger when you have competition. I think [Jan Gunnar] Solli played a couple games [at left mid]; five, six games he played there then Connor Lade played a couple games and when you see the team get stronger, we get new players in and everybody gets healthy, that makes it more difficult for every player and maybe also for the coach. Now it’s easy, when you don’t get a result you can switch and that should be the quality of a strong team. When something doesn’t work out, you can put it another way.”
  • Heath Pearce returned to the starting lineup for the first time in six games, since he was late substitution because of injury in the June 30 game at Toronto FC.
  • Wilman Conde made his fourth consecutive start, but asked to come off after 70 minutes. He was not able to take part in full training in the week leading up to the return match in New York.
  • “I’m not sure if he wanted to switch,” said Backe. “I wonder if it’s a groin injury or something like that, or perhaps he felt it. I don’t think he got injured, but he wanted to go out.”
  • After playing Kenny Cooper alongside Thierry Henry as the strike partnership for two consecutive matches, Sebastien Le Toux was given the start up top alongside Henry.
  • “It’s still building. It’s my first game playing up top with him. We are still trying to find each other and build chemistry but it takes time,”said Le Toux. “It’s just my second week with the team and I hope it keeps getting better and better.”

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo recorded a fifth consecutive victory in the win against the Red Bulls, and extended their home unbeaten streak in the process. The Dynamo moved into a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference with 40 points from 23 games.

TEAM NEWS

  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that came away with a 2-0 win against Toronto FC at BMO Field. Jermaine Taylor and Will Bruin came back into the team, in place of Warren Creavalle and Brian Ching.
  • The victory was the Dynamo’s fifth in a row, matching their club record, and their eighth consecutive game overall without a loss.
  • “It’s always big when you score first, whether it’s in the first minute or the 80th minute,” said Kinnear. “When you score first it gives you confidence. It gave us a lot of energy and brought the crowd into it right away. I think it gave the guys a lot of confidence and uplifted them physically and mentally.”
  • Houston is still undefeated in league play at their new BBVA Compass Stadium, having gone unbeaten in 11 games. Their overall home undefeated streak is now at 19 games dating back to last season, the third-longest in MLS history.
  • “This is probably the hardest place in the league to give up a goal early because it’s so hot out there and guys die,” Houston defender Bobby Boswell said. “For us to get out there and get it done, [Kinnear] called us out on that the last couple of games and we’ve responded pretty well. We’re being stingy with the goals and it helps to get an early one.”
  • Calen Carr scored his fourth goal in the last four games, all since returning to the starting lineup for the first time since June 16.
  • “Once you get one goal it’s always easier to get the next. I think that has been part of it,” Carr said. “Another thing is just playing with these guys. We have a lot of great players on this team, especially now with Boniek Garcia drawing a lot of attention. Everything is clicking for us right now as a team, which is the most important thing.”
  • Said Kinnear: “He is good in the air. He has good timing. We said we missed him when he was injured for that month or so. We missed his versatility and his overall play. He is coming into good form. He is feeling confident attacking the ball and it was a great goal for him.”
  • Mac Kandji added his first assist of the season; he has two goals and one assist in the seven games since Kinnear installed a 4-3-3 tactical scheme.
  • “In the 4-3-3, there’s more space and teams have to compensate for the middle, which creates a gap for me and can create a two-on-one with Mac [Kandji] and I against a defender,” left back Corey Ashe said. “Finding Mac, his movement is great moving up and down the line and I’m starting to build a good relationship with him.”
  • The Dynamo extended their current shutout streak to 320 minutes with the victory. They had a 356-minute streak snapped on July 18. They have recorded clean sheets in six of their last seven games, allowing just a single goal (the July 18 2-1 win vs. KC) since the start of July.
  • “When I look back on it, I don’t think there are going to be brighter moments in my career than what I have had with this team,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall. “It’s just been a great two-thirds of the season and the most important third is ahead of us. We have a great base with how we are doing things and we just need to keep building from there.”