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Houston Dynamo vs. Arabe Unido | CONCACAF Champions League Preview

Houston Dynamo vs. Arabe Unido, August 27, 2013

Photo Credit: 
USA Today sports, Mexsport

HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. ARABE UNIDO
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM, Houston, Texas
August 27, 2013 (CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage)
8 pm ET (FOX Sports 1)

The Houston Dynamo continue group play in the CONCACAF Champions League with an important home game against group leader Árabe Unido on Tuesday at BBVA Compass Stadium. After one of four group stage games, Árabe Unido currently lead Group 1 with 3 points after a 3-1 home win over W Connection. The Dynamo and W Connection are tied for second place in Group 1 with one point each after the clubs drew 0-0 last Tuesday in Trinidad and Tobago.

This is the sixth appearance for the Dynamo in the regional championship. After semifinal runs in the 2007 and 2008 Champions Cup tournaments, the Dynamo advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2008-09 and 2012-13 editions and failed to advance past the group stage in 2009-10.

Based in Colón, Panama, Árabe Unido are making their third appearance in the Champions League, and first since the 2010-11 tournament. The club earned a win a 3-1 home win over W Connection in their opening game of this group stage. Humberto Ward scored twice and Jose Gonzalez added a third as the Panamanian club rolled to an opening win.

The Dynamo and Árabe Unido were in the same Champions League group in the 2009-10 tournament. Houston secured a 1-1 draw at Árabe Unido in August 2009 in a memorable game that included eight yellow cards, five red cards and two power outages. A month later, the Dynamo produced a 5-1 win over Los Árabes, with two late goals from Stuart Holden.

2009 Highlights: AUO 1, HOU 1

The Dynamo fell to the Montreal Impact 5-0 on Saturday night at Stade Saputo in Montreal. Marco Di Vaio scored two goals as the Dynamo suffered their worst loss of the season. Di Vaio opened the scoring in the 35th minute, bending a shot from the right side of the penalty area into the far corner of the net. Felipe scored two minutes later for a 2-0 Montreal lead. Both first-half goals were assisted by Justin Mapp.

The Impact stretched their lead in the 58th minute as Jeb Brovsky finished a Montreal corner kick with a close finish for a 3-0 advantage. Di Vaio made it 4-0 when he took a pass from Patrice Bernier inside the area and converted his chance. Andrea Pisanu capped the scoring in stoppage time, taking a through ball from Felipe and finishing his opportunity for a 5-0 win.

Saturday’s game at Montreal was the Dynamo’s third game in eight days – in three countries. After a home game vs. Seattle on Aug. 17, the Dynamo travelled to Trinidad and Tobago the next day for last Tuesday’s Champions League game at W Connection. After a flight to Houston Wednesday morning, the Dynamo hit the airport again on Friday morning for a flight to Quebec.

The continent-trotting week opens a stretch in which the Dynamo will play four of five games on the road, with Tuesday’s Champions League home game vs. Árabe Unido the only home game. After Tuesday, the Dynamo have a two-city Midwestern road trip with games at Chicago (Sept. 1) and Columbus (Sept. 4). Following the Columbus game, five of the Dynamo’s final eight MLS games are at home, including three of the last four. 

The Dynamo opened the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League group stage with a 0-0 draw at W Connection on Aug. 20 at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Trinidad and Tobago. The Dynamo (0-1-0; 1 point) are tied for second place in Group 1 with W Connection (0-1-1; 1 point). Árabe Unido (1-0-0; 3 points) is in first place in the group after one round. The 0-0 draw marked the third time the Dynamo have earned a shutout on the road in international competition.

Honduran midfielder Alexander Lopez started and played 86 minutes in his Dynamo debut after signing with the club on Aug. 7. Brian Ching also started the game for Houston. It was his 32 career game in international competition for the Dynamo. He is the franchise leader. Hall earned his third career international shutout. He is tied with Zach Wells for second on the franchise list. Pat Onstad is the franchise leader, with eight.

Arabe Unido News

Árabe Unido are making their second consecutive appearance in the CONCACAF Champions League. Last season the squad finished second behind eventual winner Pachuca in Group A and lost in the quarterfinals to two-time finalist Cruz Azul 4-0 on aggregate. Founded by Gerardo Sebat, the club was originally named Club Atletico Argentina from 1990-94. Nearly all of Arabe Unido’s players are from Panama, while the other four hail from Colombia.

The 10-time Panamanian league champions are coached by Richard Parra (Colombia). Defenders Reinaldo Anderson, Harold Cummings and Omar Camargo, as well as midfielders Armando Cooper and Alejandro Velez and forward Orlando Rodriguez, have played for the Panamanian national team.

Recent Form/Results

Árabe Unido currently occupy third place in the Liga Panameña de Fútbol, three points back of first-place Tauro FC. "The Blue Express" are 3-2-2 (11 points). After a slow start to the season, Árabe Unido have won their last three league games. 

Key Players

Humberto Ward (Forward) - Ward leads Árabe Unido with two goals this season

Jose Gonzalez (Midfielder) - Gonzalez scored in Árabe Unido's CCL opening win over W Connection