Ralston returns to Gillette as Houston, Revs vie for points

The Basics

New England (5-9-3, 18 pts., 6th Eastern Conference) vs. Houston (5-9-5, 20 pts., 7th Western Conference), at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

New England lead the all-time series with a 4-1-3 record against the Dynamo, including a 2-1-2 edge at Gillette Stadium.

TV Info

8 pm ET; Direct Kick, MatchDay Live

Game Intro

The frequent title combatants renew acquaintances for the first time this season as both sides enter the match with designs on making a playoff push.

New England hope to extend their unbeaten streak to eight matches in all competitions and ruin former star and current Dynamo assistant Steve Ralston's return to Gillette Stadium, while the Dynamo want to snap a nine-match winless streak (0-5-4) that stretches back to May 22.

Houston Dynamo

Influential midfielder Brad Davis is expected to miss the trip after sustaining a left quadriceps strain in last Sunday's 2-0 loss at Houston. Geoff Cameron or Anthony Obodai could come into central midfield, with Cameron vying for his first start since his return from knee surgery after making two substitute appearances last week.

Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear will also have to alter his defense with usual left back Mike Chabala suspended. Andrew Hainault could switch over from the right to fill the void and leave Richard Mulrooney as the most likely option to cover his regular duties.

New England Revolution

Serbian forward Ilija Stolica will make his first start for the Revolution after coming on as a substitute in last Saturday's 1-0 victory over D.C. United. Stolica could displace either Kenny Mansally or Zack Schilawski up front, while Marko Perovic hopes to recover from a left calf strain in time to feature. Kevin Alston (left hamstring strain) isn't quite ready to return at right back, so Emmanuel Osei may continue in his makeshift role out wide.

Heroes & Villains

New England midfielder Sainey Nyassi v. Houston's deputy at left back -- Nyassi poses problems for opposing fullbacks when he opts to use his searing pace to challenge defenders one-versus-one. Any deputy for Houston – unless Kinnear opts to drop Corey Ashe into the back four – will struggle to match Nyassi for pace, so the Houston defender in question must remain positionally sound in order to negate the threat.

Stat that makes you go “Hmm…”

One team has pitched a shutout in each of their past four meetings.

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