DC United vs. Houston Dynamo | MLS Match Preview

D.C. UNITED vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
RFK MEMORIAL STADIUM, Washington, D.C.
May 21, 2014 (WEEK 12, MLS Game #103)
7 p.m. ET (CSN-MA; CSN-Hou)

A key clash at the top end of the Eastern Conference is ahead at midweek as D.C. United play host to the Houston Dynamo at RFK Stadium on Wednesday evening. United find themselves sitting in fourth place in the East, coming off a 1-1 home draw with Montréal last weekend. The Dynamo are just two points ahead, in a tie for second place in the division following their 1-0 win against the LA Galaxy to conclude a three-game homestand.

REFEREE: Alan Kelly. AR1 (bench): Peter Manikowski; AR2 (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: Mark Geiger
MLS Career: 3 games; FC/gm: 30.7; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 1; pens: 2

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: HOU: Jermaine Taylor
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Perry Kitchen
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: HOU: Brad Davis (USA); Boniek Garcia (Honduras)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (18 meetings): United 4 wins, 16 goals … Dynamo 12 wins, 35 goals … Ties 2
AT RFK STADIUM (9 meetings): United 4 wins, 12 goals … Dynamo 4 wins, 16 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 8/3: Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United, 7 p.m. CT; 10/12: Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United, 2 p.m. CT

LAST YEAR (MLS)
3/2: HOU 2, DC 0 (own goal 80; R. Clark 89)
5/8: DC 0, HOU 4 (Bruin 16, 78; Barnes 28; Driver 88)
10/27: DC 1, HOU 2 (Porter 27 – Garcia 11; Barnes 39)
• The Dynamo have a five-game winning streak alive vs. D.C. United in league play, including victories in both games at RFK Stadium last year. United’s last win against Houston came April 28, 2012, a 2-1 win in Washington.
• The Dynamo have never lost to D.C. United in Houston, winning nine of 10 meetings there all-time in league and cup play (with one draw).
• Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. HOU: P9 W1 L7 D1 … Dominic Kinnear vs. DC: P24 W13 L6 D5

D.C. UNITED

D.C. United returned home and extended their undefeated streak on their own ground, coming back for a 1-1 draw with the Montréal Impact on Saturday evening. United are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 15 points from 10 games.

LAST MATCH

• The Impact took the lead in the 56th minute. Midfielder Justin Mapp collecting the ball on the right flank and put in a low cross that found Jack McInerney with relative ease at the top of the six-yard-box for an easy tap-in.

• But United found a late winner just five minutes from full time. Eddie Johnson scored his first goal with United, heading home a wonderfully struck Fabian Espindola cross from six yards out.

• United head coach Ben Olsen made one change to the team that defeated Philadelphia Union 1-0 at PPL Park. Nick DeLeon returned to the midfield in place of Lewis Neal.

• D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Bill Hamid - Chris Korb, Jeff Parke, Bobby Boswell (Lewis Neal 75), Cristian Fernandez - Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud (Luis Silva 65), Chris Rolfe - Eddie Johnson (Conor Doyle 90), Fabian Espindola.

TEAM NEWS

• United have now won three and tied twice at RFK Stadium since opening the season with a 3-0 home loss to the Columbus Crew.

• “I think any time we play at home we want to win, so it’s pretty disappointing. You know, we wanted to come out and really get all over them. I don’t think our start was too pleasing for ourselves,” said defender Bobby Boswell. “… Take care of the ball, maybe move a little more for each other, but I think we had a sense of urgency in the second half.”

• Eddie Johnson was left off the U.S. national team’s preliminary 30-man roster earlier in the week – then scored his first league goal since coming to D.C. United in the offseason, after going 736 minutes without hitting the back of the net.

• "It’s good for him to score a goal,” United head coach Ben Olsen said. "Again, he’s in so many good spots – we’ve let him down a lot with lack of service, lack of quality of service. He knows what to do in the six-yard box when a ball is delivered properly. We just need to continue getting him that type of service and he’ll keep getting on the board.”

• Said goalkeeper Bill Hamid: "He’s had a good season. He fits in our system. He fits our gameplan and we’re delighted for him, we’re ecstatic that he got the goal. Even with all this publicity, he’s able to keep his head down and came up with a quality finish tonight. ... It’s a good thing that we still have him. We are delighted to have him for the whole summer.”

• Chris Rolfe collected his second assist with D.C. United, and now has two goals and two assists since coming to the club in a trade with the Chicago Fire.

• Fabián Espíndola collected his fourth assist of the season against Montréal. He has a goal or an assist in six of his last eight games, and now has four goals and four assists for the season.

• “I don’t think we came with the right enthusiasm for the game in the first half. There was some tactical stuff and some lack of quality in the way we played at times. We still needed to turn it up some,” said Olsen. “I felt that we did that in the second half. The ball moved a little quicker for us in the second half. There were times that they were trying to slow down the game and that proved difficult for us.”

HOUSTON DYNAMO

The Houston Dynamo completed their homestand with a victory, getting the game’s only goal for a win against the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference with 17 points from 12 games.

LAST MATCH

• The game's lone goal came through some good fortune in the 61st minute. LA goalkeeper Jaime Penedo misplayed a throw-in from the right touchline and rookie Mark Sherrod was quick to take possession in the left side of the box, before finding Giles Barnes who hit a skillful shot with the inside of his right foot inside the far post.

• Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall was called upon to make five saves and was beaten in the first half by a shot from A.J. DeLaGarza, but it was cleared off the goal line by Houston defender David Horst.

• Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made three changes to the team that fell 5-2 to Real Salt Lake at BBVA Compass Stadium. Jermaine Taylor came into central defense in place of A.J. Cochran, Warren Creavalle started for the suspended Servando Carrasco, and Will Bruin came back into the team in place of Brad Davis.

• HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, David Horst, Corey Ashe - Boniek Garcia (Omar Cummings 23 / Brian Ownby 87), Warren Creavalle, Giles Barnes, Andrew Driver - Will Bruin, Mark Sherrod.

TEAM NEWS

• The Dynamo ended their three-game homestand by taking six of a possible nine points, and now head to trips to D.C. and San Jose over the week.

• “Really happy, great three points, great bounce back from last week,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “… Love watching them win games, especially at home in front of a great crowd. To put the work in, like I said it was a great answer to walk off the field from last week.”

• After scoring his first two career professional goals against Real Salt Lake at the weekend, Mark Sherrod set up the lone goal in the win vs. LA.

• Giles Barnes scored his third goal in the last four games to lead the Dynamo to the victory.

•  “He did well on the ball, and then he showed some real good composure to play the ball back to Giles (Barnes),” said Kinnear. “That was a great finish by the way –  if Giles put it somewhere else it could’ve been blocked, it hit the perfect spot.”

• In what was Boniek Garcia’s final game with the Dynamo before joining the Honduras national team in preparation for the FIFA World Cup, he had to come off just a quarter of the way into the game with an injury.

• “The reason was a little bit of tightness in his hamstring. I don’t think it’s terrible. It’s not something that’s going to keep him out for a long period of time, but he said he felt something in the back of his leg. That’s where the icepack went, and it was enough to take him out of the game,” Kinnear said.

• Goalkeeper Tally Hall was credited with his fifth shutout of the season, tied for the league lead with Sporting KC’s Eric Kronberg. Four of Hall’s shutouts have come at BBVA Compass Stadium.

• “I think LA was afraid of us imposing our will on their forwards. I thought Jermaine [Taylor] and I did a great job, because those forwards didn’t end the game with them,” said center back David Horst. “Hopefully that’s what we can keep doing is imposing our will on other team’s offenses, and keep zeros in the back. That’s all we can do as a defense.”