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Preview: Dynamo's postseason hopes on the line in Colo.

COL-v-HOU, Oct. 27, 2012

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

COLORADO RAPIDS vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
October 27, 2012 (WEEK 33, MLS Game #319)
7 p.m. MT (Altitude; FS-Hou+/MultiM)

The Colorado Rapids conclude their 2012 season when they play host to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in a game that could have huge implications for the visitors. The Rapids are coming off a 2-0 win at Chivas USA in their final away match last weekend. The Dynamo enter the weekend in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but could rise as high as third with a win and favorable results earlier Saturday afternoon, following a 3-1 win vs. Philadelphia last weekend to conclude an undefeated campaign on their home ground.

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE (PDF)

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. AR1 (bench): Chris Strickland; AR2 (opposite): Baboucarr Jallow; 4th: Yader Reyes
MLS Career: 75 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 14; pens: 11

INJURY REPORT

COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); FW Edu (R foot contusion); GK Matt Pickens (R adductor strain); MF Brian Mullan (L knee scope); QUESTIONABLE: MF Shane O’Neill (L orbital fracture [possible]); PROBABLE: FW Omar Cummings (R ankle soreness); FW Tony Cascio (L ankle sprain); MF Jeff Larentowicz (L groin tightness); FW Conor Casey (R knee soreness) …

HOUSTON DYNAMO – NONE REPORTED

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: COL: Tyson Wahl (caution accumulation; through Oct. 28)

WARNINGS:
FINED NEXT YELLOW CARD: COL: Jeff Larentowicz, Tyson Wahl … HOU: Bobby Boswell

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (16 meetings): Rapids 5 wins, 19 goals … Dynamo 7 wins, 23 goals … Ties 4
AT COLORADO (9 meetings): Rapids 4 wins, 8 goals … Dynamo 3 wins, 7 goals … Ties 2

LAST YEAR (MLS): 5/4: HOU 1, COL 2 (Clark 71 – Smith 74; Palguta 84); 7/3: COL 0, HOU 0
•    This is the only meeting this season between the teams.
•    The Rapids have a five-game undefeated streak alive against Houston. Since a 1-0 Dynamo win April 19, 2009 at Robertson Stadium, Colorado has won three of the five meetings, with two draws.
•    The Rapids haven’t lost to the Dynamo at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park since a 3-1 Houston victory in 2008.
•    Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. HOU: first game … Dominic Kinnear vs. COL: P24 W11 L6 D7

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids put an end to their winless streak after four games, defeating Chivas USA 2-0 on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. The Rapids are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 34 points from 33 games.

LAST MATCH
•    The Rapids took the lead in the 16th minute. From out on the left from a cleared service, Tyson Wahl whipped a cross into the middle of the box and Jaime Castrillón flicked a header to Martin Rivero, who was completely unmarked on the right side of the goal. He settled the ball and ripped a shot past a helpless Tim Melia in the Chivas goal.
•    Colorado doubled the lead in the 40th minute when Omar Cummings found Kamani Hill unmarked on the left side of the area. Hill snapped a header that got past Melia and into the back of the net.
•    Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made four changes to the side that fell 4-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Steward Ceus came into the goal for Matt Pickens, Tyson Wahl started at left back in place of Luis Zapata, Jaime Castrillon entered the midfield for Brian Mullan, and Kamani Hill started up top in place of Andre Akpan.
•    COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Steward Ceus - Hunter Freeman, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Tyson Wahl - Martin Rivero, Jeff Larentowicz, Hendry Thomas, Jaime Castrillon (Jamie Smith 72) - Omar Cummings (Joseph Nane 86), Kamani Hill (Tony Cascio 66)

TEAM NEWS
•    The Rapids won for the first time since Sept. 5, and will now be looking to put together back-to-back victories for the first time this season since winning their opening two matches of the campaign.
•    “We have a bunch of professionals here that face every game with the same attitude despite the position. We’re not in the running for the playoffs but today they played like if it was one of those games,” said Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja. “I give credit to a group that is professional and came in and fought, but put a lot of good ideas and played good soccer on the field.”
•    Kamani Hill made just his second start of the season, his first since April 21, and just his third appearance since mid-August. He scored his fourth goal, his first since April 28.
•    “As a player, every game you play to win, and every game you play to do your best, because you are being seen, you never know who is watching the game,” said Hill. “Every game is important individually. We came out and did our thing and I thought we gelled as a team, which is most important.”
•    Said Pareja: “That’s one of those cases where it comes down to decisions on selecting the players for different matches and he understands as well that the consistency hasn’t been there. But Kamani brings things. As a player, he has been in our plans.”
•    Making his first MLS start – in his fourth season for the club – goalkeeper Steward Ceus recorded the shutout.
•    “He has been very patient waiting for this moment, the game rewarded him. It wasn’t just his first MLS start, but he won it and no goals conceded. A lot of positive things not just for the group, but for Stew,” said Pareja. Said Ceus: “Getting my first game as a start and coming in with a clean sheet is definitely huge. It’s a big boost in confidence to come out with a clean sheet and win .”
•    Tyson Wahl also returned to the starting lineup, making his first since Aug. 31, and his fourth start for the club since being acquired from the Montréal Impact.
•    Martín Rivero returned to the scoresheet for the first time since May 6, netting his second goal of the season.
•    “Playoffs aren’t in sight but we have a lot to play for and we’re continuing to play hard and show what we have for the next game and for the year to come,” said Ceus. “Going into the season finale, I know it’s Fan Appreciation Day so we’re going to go out there and play our hearts out for the fans that have been coming out and supporting us.”

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo concluded their regular season home campaign unbeaten, getting two late goals for a 3-1 win against Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 53 points from 33 games.

LAST MATCH
•    The Dynamo took the lead after just five minutes. After stripping Carlos Valdés of the ball, leaving the Union defender standing in pain, Macoumba Kandji raced in on goal and beat Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath with a calm, placed finish.
•    But Union pulled level in the 19th minute. Sheanon Williams capped an overlapping run with an early ball that found forward Jack McInerney slipping between the Dynamo defense to head home from the heart of the area.
•    Houston was back in front in the 71st minute. Brian Ching led the counter and picked out Boniek García on his left. After cutting in on his favored right foot, García hit a curling shot to the near post that MacMath could only deflect into the roof of the net for the eventual game-winner.
•    Four minutes later the game was sealed after Will Bruin was taken down by Valdés in the box, and Brad Davis stepped up to slot home the resulting penalty to MacMath’s right.
•    Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the Montréal Impact at BBVA Compass Stadium. Brad Davis came back into the side in place of Calen Carr.
•    HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Boniek Garcia, Ricardo Clark, Adam Moffat (Giles Barnes 56), Brad Davis (Warren Creavalle 85) - Will Bruin, Macoumba Kandji (Brian Ching 67).

TEAM NEWS
•    With the draw, the Dynamo secured their berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs, a sixth postseason trip in seven seasons in Houston.
•    “I go back to my first year in San Jose, being coached by Dominic [Kinnear] was a complete change for me,” said midfielder Brad Davis. He has instilled a winning attitude and he holds us to a higher standard. There is not a day that he doesn’t come out and push us to the extreme and expect a lot out of us. In turn, we expect a lot out of each other.”
•    The Dynamo also became the fourth team in MLS history to go undefeated at home over an entire season, joining San Jose (2005), Real Salt Lake (2010) and LA Galaxy (2011).
•    “We are a team that is a never-say-die team and we kept going and we’re excited. Undefeated at home this year is a great accomplishment and most of all we are in the playoffs, which is huge,” said Davis. “We have been talking all week about it being in our hands and what to do. We needed to come out, step up and win and that’s what we did. I’m extremely happy for the guys and happy to be in another set of playoffs.”
•    The Dynamo also extended their overall home unbeaten streak to 25 games in league play, now the second-longest in MLS history. Real Salt Lake’s 29-game streak from 2009-11 is the league record.
•    “It’s a team achievement, 100 percent,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “These guys are the ones that play, and play hard. I’m lucky and appreciative of all their efforts. I have a very nice job and I also have the best seat in the house watching these guys play.”
•    With Davis back in the team after he missed the Montréal match with a calf strain, Kinnear returned to a 4-4-2 scheme.
•    “Personnel is probably the most important thing for me,” Kinnear said. “The most important thing is to try and keep it simple and basic for the players. I like the 4-4-2. I like having two forwards who are making menacing runs down the wings and into the box, but sometimes it does change.”
•    On Tuesday, the Dynamo secured their berth in the knockout phase of the 2012/13 CONCACAF Champions League with a 1-1 draw against CD Olimpia of Honduras as BBVA Compass Stadium. André Hainault equalizer in the 65th minute was all the Dynamo needed to move into the final eight next year.
•    Here’s the Dynamo team: Tyler Deric; Warren Creavalle, Nathan Sturgis, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe; Calen Carr (Macoumba Kandji 85), Luiz Camargo, Giles Barnes (Boniek Garcia 78), Colin Clark (Je-Vaughn Watson 46); Cam Weaver, Brian Ching