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Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls | MLS Match Preview

HOUSTON DYNAMO vs NEW YORK RED BULLS
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM, Houston, Texas
Oct. 20, 2013 (WEEK 34, MLS Game #312)
3 p.m. CT (UniMas; CSN-Hou; MSG)

The Houston Dynamo and New York Red Bulls will meet for the second match in little more than a month in a crunch match in the Eastern Conference when the clubs face off Sunday afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo can clinch a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs with a win or the right combination of other results, following their scoreless draw at Sporting KC last week. The Red Bulls have already booked their ticket to the postseason, but are now chasing the Supporters' Shield coming off a late 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution two weeks ago.

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE (PDF)

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. AR1 (bench): Paul Scott; AR2 (opposite): Kevin Klinger; 4th: Ted Unkel
Grajeda's MLS Career: 97 games; FC/gm: 24.1; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 17; pens: 14

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: HOU -- Corey Ashe, Andrew Driver; NY -- Jamison Olave, Jonny Steele
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU -- Warren Creavalle, Boniek Garcia, Kofi Sarkodie; NY -- Tim Cahill, Fabian Espindola, Markus Holgersson
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (17 meetings): Dynamo 3 wins, 17 goals; Red Bulls 7 wins, 23 goals; Ties 7
AT HOUSTON (8 meetings): Dynamo 3 wins, 13 goals; Red Bulls 1 win, 9 goals; Ties 4

2013 (MLS)
6/30: NY 2, HOU 0 (Alexander 60; Steele 88)
9/8: HOU 1, NY 4 (Johnson 18; Alexander 14; Henry 47; Steele 58; Sam 88)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season, and the Red Bulls have won both. The Dynamo allowed a club-record four goals in a home match in a 4-1 New York win Sept. 8 at BBVA Compass Stadium; Fabian Espindola and Jonny Steele scored second-half goals to lead the Red Bulls to a 2-0 win June 30 in Harrison.
  • It was New York's first league win ever in Houston; the Dynamo came into the last meeting 4-0-3 all-time at home vs. New York. The Red Bulls are 6-0-3 all-time at home vs. Houston.
  • The Red Bulls did win the second leg of a conference semifinal series in Houston in the 2008 MLS Cup Playoffs, advancing 4-1 on aggregate after a 3-0 win at Robertson Stadium, following a 1-1 draw in the first leg.
  • Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear v NY: P22 W6 L8 D8; Mike Petke vs. HOU: P2 W2 L0 D0

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • The Red Bulls opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a dazzling early goal. Eric Alexander started the play down the middle, playing a sharp give-and-go with Jonny Steele and curling a shot from 20 yards out which beat Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall, who was off his line.
  • Houston responded four minutes later. Alexander Lopez lofted a perfect pass into the path of the streaking Jason Johnson in the left side of the area, and the rookie took a touch before pushing his shot past goalkeeper Luis Robles.
  • But early in the second half, the Red Bulls again grabbed the lead. Thierry Henrry collected a ball from Bradley Wright-Phillips and, after a mis-hit backpass from Houston midfielder Adam Moffat, walked into the box and finished past Hall.
  • The Red Bulls stuck in the dagger in the 59th minute. Wright-Phillips put a ball over the top and Steele beat the pulled-up Dynamo back line, rounded Hall and calmly finished for the Red Bulls' third.
  • With the Dynamo pushing forward, Lloyd Sam found a fourth goal for the visitors, side-footing home from the heart of the area as the Houston back line was pulled apart with sharp passing.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-2-3-1): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Warren Creavalle, Bobby Boswell, Mike Chabala (Brian Ching 80) - Adam Moffat (Ricardo Clark 53), Alexander Lopez (Brian Ownby 60) - Giles Barnes, Will Bruin, Jason Johnson - Cam Weaver.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Kosuke Kimura, Jamison Olave, Markus Holgersson (Matt Miazga 76), David Carney - Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander (Peguy Luyindula 70), Jonny Steele - Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips (Michael Bustamante 90).
     

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo stretched their late-season undefeated run to five matches, reaching a scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City on Oct. 9 at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in third place in the Eastern Conference with 48 points from 32 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was called upon to make four saves in keeping the clean sheet, including three saves in the opening seven minutes of the match. Two of the shots were from Dynamo striker Will Bruin from point blank range.
  • The Dynamo came closest to scoring on the stroke of halftime, when Aurelien Collin headed a Brad Davis free kick off the line. Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall was required to make just one save for the shutout.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that held on for a 1-0 win against the Montreal Impact at BBVA Compass Stadium. Eric Brunner and Andrew Driver came into the side with Jermaine Taylor and Boniek Garcia away on national team duty.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Eric Brunner, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Andrew Driver, Warren Creavalle, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis - Giles Barnes (Cam Weaver 89), Will Bruin.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo extended their late-season undefeated streak to five matches, since losing back-to-back games to Columbus (0-2) and New York (1-4) on Sept. 4-8.
  • "Sometimes the game doesn't work out the way you want it to, sometimes you can play a great game and lose and you can play bad games and win. So this was one of those nights where I think we played a good game," said midfielder Brad Davis. "I think everyone feels like that but we're unfortunate to not get three points. It is what it is we're going to look at the positives and just keep going."
  • The Dynamo are coming off back-to-back defensive shutouts for the first time since May 5-8, following the scoreless draw with Sporting KC. They have shutouts in three of the last five matches.
  • "I thought it was a good game all around for us," said Davis. "We kept another clean sheet against another difficult team, which is always a good thing. We felt like we deserved three points."
  • Andrew Driver was able to return to the starting lineup for the first time since Sept. 4, playing the full match in a wide midfield role. He had come on as a late substitute the week before vs. Montreal.
  • "It was great, I stuck with the guys for so long because it was a perfect night, the level of intensity and effort never dropped or stopped," said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. "It was good to see them get through this, we know this next week is going to lead up to something really big for us which are important games against New York, in Panama and D.C United so it's good to have some healthy guys knowing they can go long periods of time because it is a great bonus for us."
  • Eric Brunner also made his first start since Sept. 1, when he was forced off before halftime with an ankle injury in the Columbus match.
  • "Everyone is fighting for points to get those playoffs spots and we have a good streak going," Brunner said. "I think the team gave it a good effort and I think you get a good effort if you leave it all on the field and that's what we did."

NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls made it six games in a row without loss in dramatic fashion, grabbing a late 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution on Oct. 5 at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls are in sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference and tied for the lead in the MLS overall table with 53 points from 32 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Red Bulls took the lead after just 14 minutes. Fabian Espindola stripped a Revolution defender of the ball and fired a right-footed shot from outside the area that beat goalkeeper Matt Reis.
  • But the Revolution were handed a lifeline late when referee Fotis Bazakos whistled Jamison Olave for a handball in the penalty area, and Lee Nguyen stepped up and converted the ensuing spot kick to pull the Revolution level in the 85th minute.
  • Things took a turn for the worse for the visitors when Andy Dorman was sent off with a straight red card less than a minute, but New England still took the lead in stoppage after Diego Fagundez slipped a shot underneath Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles after picking off a loose ball in the New York end.
  • But seven minutes into stoppage time, the Red Bulls hit for a remarkable equalizer. A corner kick was punched out by Reis, but only as far as Tim Cahill at the spot, and he sent a looping header into the back of the net to clinch a playoff berth for New York.
  • Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke made two changes to the team that came back for a 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. Jamison Olave and Thierry Henry returned to the side, in place of Ibrahim Sekagya and Peguy Luyindula.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Kosuke Kimura (Andre Akpan 90), Jamison Olave, Markus Holgersson, David Carney - Lloyd Sam (Eric Alexander 71), Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill, Jonny Steele - Thierry Henry, Fabian Espindola (Peguy Luyindula 78).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Red Bulls extended their late-season undefeated streak to six games, reaching a second consecutive draw in draw with New England.
  • With the single point, the Red Bulls clinched a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs, joining Sporting Kansas City as the only teams to have earned postseason berths. No teams from the Western Conference had claimed spots entering this weekend.
  • "It's a great moment right now for the organization," said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. "It's a good moment for me to take a deep breath finally, but this was our initial goal. Our initial goal was to make the playoffs and now our goals get recalculated."
  • Said Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry: "That was the aim at the beginning and obviously now we know we can go further than that. Hopefully we're going to perform well against Houston and Chicago in the last games, but I think we have to enjoy making the playoffs. It was kind of a long season -- still not over, don't get me wrong -- but talking about the playoffs, we made it. The hard way tonight."
  • The equalizer came from Tim Cahill seven minutes into second-half stoppage time. It tied the fourth-latest goal scored in regulation in MLS history (and the third scored in the 97th minute this season).
  • The Red Bulls have now allowed 16 goals from the 76th minute onward, third-most in MLS this season, behind Chivas USA (24) and the LA Galaxy (18).
  • "We need to put teams away," Petke said. "I think this year a lot of times we did put teams away. Give New England credit, they made it difficult for us to play a lot of the time and they threw caution to the wind and put pressure on us all over the field. At times, we weren't able to adapt to it."
  • Said goalkeeper Luis Robles: "We need to be able to shut it down. That's something I know Mike will talk about in the next week, is we need to be able to shut it down at 1-0 because sometimes going in the playoffs it's like that, so [the draw with New England] continues to show that we have the character and the quality. If we can do that and close games out, it's pretty solid."
  • The Red Bulls were without Bradley Wright-Phillips for a second consecutive match after he was forced from the field after just a half-hour in the Sept. 22 win vs. FC Dallas, but Petke said he could be available for the Houston match.
  • "Nothing is impossible, but the way I'm taking it is: Until they give me that glimmer of hope, I'm counting on him to still be recovering," said Petke. "There's always a chance, I assume. He looks good walking around, he's going to treatment nonstop, our medical staff is very good. They can potentially have him back, but as of now I don't have that answer yet."