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Eastern Conference Championship

Houston Dynamo vs. Columbus Crew | MLS Match Preview

HOUSTON DYNAMO vs COLUMBUS CREW
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM, Houston, Texas
May 7, 2014 (WEEK 10, MLS Game #81)
7 p.m. CT (CSN-Hou+; TWCSN-OH)

A pair of clubs now caught in a logjam in the middle of the Eastern Conference will look to make a midweek move as the Houston Dynamo play host to the Columbus Crew on Wednesday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo put an end to their long winless run last weekend in a 4-1 win at Chivas USA. The Crew have now gone five games without a victory following a bright start, after their 2-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.

REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. AR1 (bench): Jeff Muschik; AR2 (opposite): Eric Weisbrod; 4th: Ted Unkel
MLS Career: 107 games; FC/gm: 25.2; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 35; pens: 27

SUSPENDED: CLB: Wil Trapp (through May 7)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Jermaine Taylor … CLB: Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp
DISABLED LIST: CLB: Matthew Wiet
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (17 meetings): Dynamo 3 wins, 19 goals … Crew 5 wins, 23 goals … Ties 9
AT HOUSTON (8 meetings): Dynamo 2 wins, 10 goals … Crew 1 win, 8 goals … Ties 5

LAST YEAR (MLS):
6/1: CLB 1, HOU 1 (Higuain 69 – Creavalle 31)
8/3: HOU 3, CLB 1 (Davis 10; Bruin 31; Weaver 85 – own goal 75)
9/4: CLB 2, HOU 0 (Finley 47; Meram 74)

  • The teams evenly split their season series a season ago, each team winning once in three meetings, with the third encounter a draw.
  • The teams met once last season at BBVA Compass Stadium, a 3-1 Dynamo win on Aug. 3. It was the Dynamo’s first win against the Crew in almost exactly five years, since Aug. 2, 2008. The victory snapped a nine-game Crew undefeated streak vs. Houston.
  • The Dynamo have also won just twice all-time in Houston in eight matches vs. Columbus; the teams have played to five draws in Houston.
  • Coaches' records: Dominic Kinnear vs. CLB: P21 W5 L7 T9 … Gregg Berhalter vs. HOU: first game

HOUSTON DYNAMO

The Houston Dynamo put an end to their winless streak in emphatic fashion, rolling to a 4-1 win against Chivas USA on Saturday evening at StubHub Center. The Dynamo are in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points from 9 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Chivas USA grabbed a quick lead in the seventh minute. After Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis brought down Carlos Alvarez inside the box, Erick Torres converted the resulting penalty kick.
  • But the Dynamo were level five minutes later. Davis maneuvered past Eric Avila and Bobby Burling as he moved from right to left across the area, beating goalkeeper Tim Melia. Giles Barnes then put the Dynamo ahead in the 32nd minute, making the most of space in front of him following a long pass from Boniek García and finished with a scintillating drive.
  • The Dynamo made it 3-1 before halftime as Will Bruin held off a defender while receiving a pass in the area and hit a shot on the turn past Melia.
  • The rout was complete at the three-quarter when Melia was adjudged to have fouled Bruin in the area, earning a red card from referee Sorin Stoica. Barnes then beat substitute goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg from the spot with the resulting penalty.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers at BBVA Compass Stadium. Servando Carrasco came into the midfield in place of Warren Creavalle.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-3-1-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, David Horst, Corey Ashe - Boniek Garcia (Brian Ownby 87), Servando Carrasco, Andrew Driver - Brad Davis (Alexander Lopez 85) - Giles Barnes, Will Bruin (Mark Sherrod 82).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo won for the first time since March 15, which was the second of two consecutive wins to start the season.
  • “[I'm] really happy for the guys, they’ve been working hard and catching a lot of grief from a lot of people, both inside the organization and out, and I didn’t like it,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “You always want to win. We never step on the field not wanting the result to go our way. So it’s nice to see that we won a game.”
  • It was their second four-goal output this year (tied for high in MLS), after recording a 4-0 win against New England in the season opener.
  • “I think the best thing was that we went down a goal, and it’s not a great thing to go down a goal early, but I thought our response was fantastic,” Kinnear said. “Scored three great goals before the break and took our time and pick-and-chose our moments to go forward.”
  • Giles Barnes collected the third two-goal game of his MLS career, his first two goals of the 2014 season. Barnes led Houston with 9 goals in 2013.
  • “It feels good. It feels like a long time coming. I’ve come close in quite a few games and it’s been a little bit frustrating to find the goal for me,” Barnes said. “Most important thing for me is to get the team back on track.”
  • Making a second consecutive start in an attacking midfield role, Brad Davis scored his first goal of the season; he had added his third assist of the season the week vs. Portland.
  • “We know we’re a good group and we can play like that every game. It’s a long season, we face injuries sometimes, sometimes guys are healthy and sometimes they’re not,” said striker Will Bruin. “We’re confident in the way we play, shifting into the 4-3-3 has helped a little bit, helped us play more free and we expect to play like that every night.”
  • Servando Carrasco was given his first start of the season, coming into a deep-lying role in central midfield. He had come off the substitute’s bench in three consecutive matches.

COLUMBUS CREW

The Columbus Crew saw their draw streak end but their winless run continue, dropping a 2-0 decision to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday afternoon at Sporting Park. The Crew fell to fourth place in the Eastern Conference, with 12 points from 8 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Sporting took the lead 10 minutes into the match. From Chance Myers' cross into the box, Paulo Nagamura's blocked shot deflected off a couple of defenders and fell to Jacob Peterson eight yards from goal. He turned on it and put it inside goalkeeper Steve Clark's left post for the opener.
  • The Crew were down a man for the final 10 minutes after midfielder Wil Trapp was issued a second yellow card by referee Ismail Elfath after bringing down Sporting's Benny Feilhaber in the open field.
  • The home side put the game away well into second-half stoppage time when SKC broke upfield on an odd-man rush. A half-clearance fell to Graham Zusi on the left, and he found Claudio Bieler all alone in the area to finish with ease.
  • Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter made one change to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls at Crew Stadium. Bernardo Anor returned to the side in place of Justin Meram.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Steve Clark - Josh Williams, Michael Parkhurst, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Waylon Francis - Wil Trapp (ejected 80), Tony Tchani - Hector Jimenez (Dominic Oduro 46), Federico Higuain, Bernardo Anor (Justin Meram 69) - Jairo Arrieta (Ethan Finlay 82).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Crew saw their winless streak reach five games after a trio of victories to open the season, their last victory having come March 29.
  • “It's the way that we presented ourselves in the first half that I'm disappointed with. In the second half, we played how we know how to play, and it was a lot better,” said Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter. “For that, I am proud of the guys. I think they worked hard in the second half and we had them on the ropes for a little bit. Unfortunately we didn't get that tying goal.”
  • Through eight matches, the Crew had still used just 13 starters, with nine players having started every match. Only Jairo Arrieta and Dominic Oduro up top, and Bernardo Anor and Justin Meram on the flank (because of Anor’s suspension), had alternated starts.
  • “We need to get guys recovered from this game. Obviously it's been warm, so we have to recover and get prepared for the next game. We're going to focus, right from the beginning, on playing our game,” Berhalter said. “That's our focus. We want our guys to look at this game and see what they could have done better. We'll give them feedback about what they could have done better and we're going to move forward.”
  • But there will almost certainly be an addition to that group, with Wil Trapp suspended for the Houston match.
  • “I don't think there's a like-for-like replacement in the whole league for Wil Trapp,” Berhalter said. “I think he's a good player. For his age, I think he's one of the better midfielders in the league. The short answer is, no. There's not a like-for-like replacement. We're going to look in our depth and we'll find someone who can perform.”
  • Said midfielder Bernardo Anor: “We have a lot of guys that can step in and do the same job. Obviously, he's an important player for us but anybody who steps up is going to be ready.”
  • After starting four of the first eight matches as an out-and-out striker, Dominic Oduro came on in a wide midfield role in the second half, replacing Hector Jimenez.
  • “I want to say we had them pretty much the whole half; we just couldn't put anything on target,” said Oduro. “We have to play [the whole game] like we did in the second half. We don't have to wait all the way until we are down until we start playing. We have to put pressure on them and start like that and then hopefully we can get good results. We know we can play and that we are a good team.”