Houston Dynamo (5-7-2) at Toronto FC (5-4-3), Thursday, 7 p.m. Eastern
ESPN2, ESPN Deportes (United States); Rogers Sportsnet (Canada)
What’s at Stake
Toronto are still undefeated at home this season with five wins and two ties after Saturday’s 0-0 stalemate against the Los Angeles Galaxy. With a win or a tie here, The Reds hope to close the gap on Eastern Conference co-leaders Columbus and New York.
Houston can move into a three-way tie in the Western Conference with a tie in Toronto, but a win will bump them to one-point off the pace of third-place Colorado.
The two clubs battled to a 1-1 tie in their last meeting on July 18, 2009, at BMO Field in Toronto. Former Houston midfielder Dwayne De Rosario opened the scoring against his old club in the 37th minute, while Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell became an unlikely hero with his only goal of the season on a rebound in the 74th minute to level the score.
Heroes & Villains
Dwayne De Rosario v. Pat Onstad - Former Dynamo and Canadian international teammates could create one of the most interesting matchups in Thursday’s nationally-televised game. The veteran goalkeeper played six seasons alongside midfield wizard DeRo in San Jose and Houston, and hopes to stop the Reds’ midfielder, whose eight goals are second only to Edson Buddle this season. De Rosario and Onstad were also teammates with the United Soccer Leagues' Toronto Lynx way back in 1997 before eventually reuniting in California six years later.
Brad Davis v. Nick LaBrocca - Creative midfield play on both teams could go a long way to determining the outcome of Thursday's game. La Brocca, who joined the Reds from Colorado in the preseason Marvell Wynne trade, is well known for his ability to provide dangerous service into the opposition penalty area. Davis is a skillful midfielder who leads the Dynamo in assists (6) and goals (3) this season.
Stat that make you go, "Hmm ..."
Dwayne De Rosario is the only player to have scored a goal against both teams, finding a goal for Houston in a 3-1 win in 2008 and also scoring as a Red in the clubs' last meeting in July 2009.
He said it
“With the effort my teammates have put in these last two weeks to try and turn things around, for me to make a mistake like that, it’s like me punching them,” Houston defender Eddie Robinson commenting on a costly turnover that led to Conor Casey's goal, which helped Colorado escape Robertson Stadium with a 2-2 draw on Saturday.