NEW YORK RED BULLS v HOUSTON DYNAMO
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS - SECOND LEG
Wed., Nov. 6, Red Bull Arena (8 p.m. ET; UDN; RDS2; MSG; CSN-Hou)
The Eastern Conference Semifinal Series between the New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo is finely poised as the two clubs meet in the second leg Wednesday at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls took a two-goal lead in the first half of Sunday's first leg at BBVA Compass Stadium, before the Dynamo took advantage of a red card and eventually scored a late equalizer to leave the teams in a 2-2 draw. The Red Bulls are looking to win a home playoff game for the first time in almost a decade, while the Dynamo are looking for their first win in five tries against New York this season as they chase a third consecutive trip to the MLS Cup final.
REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu.
AR1 (bench): Daniel Belleau; AR2 (opposite): Peter Manikowski;
4th: Geoff Gamble
SUSPENDED: NY: Jamison Olave (through Nov. 7)
WARNINGS (suspended next yellow card): HOU: Corey Ashe, Boniek Garcia ... NY: Jonny Steele, Thierry Henry, David Carney, Brandon Barklage
HOU 3 wins, 17 GF … NY 8 wins, 26 GF … Ties 7
2013 HEAD-TO-HEAD: HOU 0 wins, 1 GF … NY 3 wins, 9 GF … Ties 0
AT RED BULL ARENA:
6/30: NY 2, HOU 0 (Alexander 60; Steele 88)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: HOU 0 wins, 3 GF … NY 1 win, 6 GF … 2 ties
NEW YORK RED BULLS
- With the late draw, the Red Bulls saw their MLS Cup Playoffs winless streak extended to five games. They last won a playoff match in the Knockout Round in 2011, a 2-0 defeat of FC Dallas.
- "The red card killed us. Those goals are our fault. It wasn’t something created out of spectacular stuff. It was self-inflicted on us,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. “The rule of thumb is on the road, if you get a tie and go home to your place and it’s pretty much 0-0, it’s a good thing. But our guys are angry at the way that we allowed them back in the game.”
- The Red Bulls also return home having never before won a playoff game at Red Bull Arena -- having lost all postseason matches there in the stadium's history -- and also riding a six-game winless streak in home playoff matches. Their last victory in a home playoff games came in 2005, a 1-0 win vs. New England.
- “If you come here and get a draw, it’s not the worst result. We’re strong at home. [But] the result isn’t going to take care of itself. We’re going to have to do what we do at home, as we’ve been doing,” said midfielder Lloyd Sam.
- The Red Bulls have still not lost to the Dynamo this season, with three wins and a draw in their four meetings in all competitions. they scored nine goals in three games at BBVA Compass Stadium.
- “We have to stay positive because we are in a favorable position,” said midfielder Dax McCarty. “It’s not like it’s the end of the world. I feel like we’ve been in Houston for the past couple of months, so now we finally get to go back home and have them on our home field and obviously we’re going to be better on our home field."
- The Red Bulls have still last lost a match on Aug. 25, finishing the regular season with an eight-game undefeated run (6-0-2). "They didn’t hurt us from the run of play. The only way they hurt us was from our own mistakes," said McCarty. “We’ve been a team that’s very solid, we’ve been a team that doesn’t beat ourselves. And when we beat ourselves, that’s the only way we’re going to lose, so we need to clean it up.”
- Making his first career start in the MLS Cup Playoffs, Eric Alexander scored his first postseason goal to double the Red Bulls lead. Tim Cahill had earlier scored his first MLS playoff goal.
- There will be a major adjustment in the back four with Jamison Olave suspended for the second leg after being sent off in the 65th minute. “You saw against Seattle [in September] when me and Ibra [Sekagya] played at center back, we did it really well. We hope to get back to that,” said Markus Holgersson.
- After making just 11 league appearances – just one as a starter – in an injury-plagued season, Omar Cummings scored his first goal of the campaign to level the series heading back to New Jersey. Cummings had one career playoff goal in seven matches, with the Colorado Rapids.
- “Games like this and scoring a goal is what’s been pushing me,” Cummings said. “It’s been very difficult physically, but also mentally. You’re not getting the playing time you’re used to even. Yes, the season’s past, but I’ve still got a lot of important goals to score for this club.”
- Ricardo Clark scored his first playoff goal in 15 career postseason appearances with the Dynamo, and just the second of his MLS career -- his first since 2005, when he netted for the San Jose Earthquakes.
- "The way everything turned out, you feel real positive going into Wednesday,” said assistant coach Wade Barrett, who deputized for the suspended Dominic Kinnear. “We didn’t script it this way ... the first half didn’t go as we had planned. We gave up two goals and dug a hole, but ... the guys came back with a fantastic attitude and got a goal back right away.”
- The late comeback extended the Dynamo undefeated streak in home postseason matches to five games. Their last playoff loss at home? The 3-0 defeat by New York in 2008.
- “You can’t really win the series in the first leg, but I think you can definitely lose it if you give up a ton of goals,” said center back Bobby Boswell. “It was great for the guys to give ourselves a chance heading to New York. We are going to fight to the last whistle. We have to go out and try to hit them where it hurts, at home.”
- A year ago, the Dynamo lost their last three playoff matches on the road, after a 2-1 win at Chicago in the Knockout Round.
- “When we went down 2-0 you had that feeling, ‘It’s not this again,'” said Will Bruin. “It’s happened to us quite a few times this year. It’s uncharacteristic but ... we’re much more mentally strong that earlier in the season. We had a talk and said 'Look, it’s not over.’ We just had the mindset to chip away little by little and it’s a tie ballgame going back to New York.”