D.C. United vs. Houston Dynamo | MLS Match Preview

Oct. 27, 2013 (WEEK 35, MLS Game #319)
1:30 p.m. ET (NBC)

D.C. United will be aiming to avoid a history-making campaign when they face a Houston Dynamo side fighting for its playoff life as the Eastern Conference clubs meet Sunday afternoon at RFK Stadium. United need a win to ensure they will not end a season with the fewest victories in MLS history, coming off a 1-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City last week. The Dynamo need a victory - and a little help - if they are to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs after back-to-back MLS Cup Final appearances, after their 3-0 home loss to New York last weekend.


REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Adam Wienckowski; AR2 (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Ted Unkel
MLS Career: 29 games; FC/gm: 24.0; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 12; pens: 9

SUSPENDED: DC: Perry Kitchen (caution accumulation; through Oct. 27)
FINED NEXT YELLOW CARD: DC: Chris Korb, Dennis Iapichino | HOU: Corey Ashe, Andrew Driver

ALL-TIME (17 meetings): United 4 wins, 15 goals | Dynamo 11 wins, 33 goals | Ties 2
AT RFK STADIUM (8 meetings): United 4 wins, 11 goals | Dynamo 3 wins, 14 goals | Ties 1

2013 (MLS)
3/2: HOU 2, DC 0 (own goal 79; R. Clark 88)
5/8: DC 0, HOU 4 (Bruin 16, 78; Barnes 28; Driver 88)
*    The teams are meeting for the third time this season, and the Dynamo have won the first two. An own goal and a goal from Warren Creavalle in the final 10 minutes gave the Dynamo a 2-0 win to open the season, March 2 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Will Bruin scored twice as the Dynamo rolled to a 4-0 win May 8 in Houston, maintaining their all-time home unbeaten record vs. United.
*    United's 3-2 home win in the first meeting a season ago was their first against Houston at home since 2009. 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).
*    The teams met in the Eastern Conference Championship a year ago, the Dynamo claiming a 3-1 victory at BBVA Compass Stadium in the first leg, before the teams reached a 1-1 draw at RFK Stadium to send Houston to MLS Cup 2012.
*    Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. HOU: P8 W1 L6 D1 | Dominic Kinnear vs. DC: P22 W12 L6 D4

*    The Dynamo opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Will Bruin settled a ball from Boniek Garcia, beat United defender Dejan Jakovic and then chipped it neatly over United goalkeeper Bill Hamid from the heart of the penalty area.
*    Twelve minutes later Houston struck again, taking advantage of a United giveaway. Pressured in their own end, Jakovic passed the ball to Hamid in a tight space and United's goalkeeper cleared it directly to Bruin, who tapped it to a wide-open Giles Barnes for an uncontested finish.
*    Bruin scored his second of the match in the 78th minute when Brian Ching headed a Brad Davis free kick across the six for Bruin to hit first-time through Hamid's legs.
*    The visitors completed the rout two minutes from time when Bruin played provider for a second time on the night, laying the ball off for Andrew Driver to thump home from inside the box.
*    D.C. UNITED (4-2-3-1): Bill Hamid - Chris Korb, Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard (Nick DeLeon 71) -  Perry Kitchen, Raphael Augusto (Marcelo Saragosa 46) - Kyle Porter, Dwayne De Rosario, Marcos Sanchez (Lionard Pajoy 59) - Rafael Teixeira.
*    HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-3-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Adam Moffat - Boniek Garcia, Brad Davis (Luiz Camargo 90), Andrew Driver - Giles Barnes (Brian Ching  37), Will Bruin (Jason Johnson 90).

D.C. United saw their winless run stretched to 11 games in their final road match of the season, falling 1-0 to Sporting Kansas City on Friday evening at Sporting Park. United are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 16 points from 33 matches.

*    The game's only goal came after just seven minutes. Under pressure, United defender Perry Kitchen sent a slow back pass toward his own goal. Dom Dwyer raced to intercept, rounded United 'keeper Bill Hamid and put his shot into the open net.
*    United head coach Ben Olsen made no changes to the team that reached a late 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union at RFK Stadium.
*    D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Bill Hamid - Chris Korb, Daniel Woolard, Perry Kitchen, Dennis Iapichino - Nick DeLeon (Collin Martin 46), Lewis Neal, Jared Jeffrey, Chris Pontius - Conor Doyle (Michael Seaton 80), Luis Silva (Dwayne De Rosario 63).

*    With the defeat at Sporting Park, D.C. United became the fifth team in MLS history to finish a season without a victory on the road, going 0-14-3 in league play. The last team to do was Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2011. United did win two games away from home in the U.S. Open Cup.
*    "We haven't won a game on the road so we were looking to fix that tonight. But, again, it wasn't so," United head coach Ben Olsen said. "I thought the second half was very good from our group, very positive. We put some young guys in and I thought we understood what it took in the second half. Hopefully we can learn some of the lessons that we've been given this year and fix them for next year."
*    United have also assured a tie for the fewest wins in MLS history. The record is currently held by Chivas USA in 2005 (4-22-6) and Tampa Bay Mutiny in 2001 (4-21-2).
*    United were also shut out at the attacking end for the 16th time in 33 league matches this season, tied for second-most in a season in MLS history and one away from the club and league record set in 2010.
*    "We are just trying to get three points and play for ourselves," said striker Luis Silva. "We know we're a good team. Things haven't been going our way this season, but we know we are capable of beating teams like this. Today we made a mistake in the back that cost us, but I think throughout the game we showed good energy and good chances to score."
*    United have scored just 21 goals this season, the fewest in the league this season. United holds the MLS record with 21 goals scored in 30 games in the 2010 season; at 0.64 goals per game, that would be a new league record, below the total of 0.70 goals per game set in that 2010 season.
*    "We've put a lot of stress on our goalkeepers and backs because we're not scoring enough goals. Everyone will talk about Perry's mishap, but over the last couple weeks, we're just not finishing," Olsen said. "We're not dangerous enough with the final ball and with the final finish. So we've got to talk a little pressure off our defense and our goalkeeper."
*    It was just the second time United lost a game by a 1-0 scoreline, with both coming in Kansas City.
*    Olsen maintained the same first XI in back-to-back league games for just the second time this season, the first since running out the same group April 5-13.
*    "I didn't think we had the right bite to us. When we go down a goal, about twenty minutes in, we start getting it. We start understanding this is a man's game," said Olsen. "I thought for the rest of the game that we were the better team, but it doesn't matter, it does not matter. When you don't play the full game, a good team like Kansas City, they'll bite you and they'll bite you early."

The Houston Dynamo saw their undefeated streak come to a crashing halt after five matches, falling 3-0 to the New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 48 points from 33 matches.

*    The Red Bulls took the lead after eight seconds, the fastest goal from the opening kickoff in MLS history. From the opening kick, Dax McCarty lobbed a ball over the top to Tim Cahill, who brought it down and laced a shot past Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall from just outside the area.
*    New York scored a second in the 65th minute after Houston failed to clear a corner kick. Thierry Henry's service pinged around the area until Ibrahim Sekagya headed past a stranded Hall from the right side of the goal area.
*    Ten minutes later second-half substitute Bradley Wright-Phillips sealed the result with some help from another failed clearance. Jermaine Taylor's attempted blast into safety bounced off the head of an unsuspecting Corey Ashe and back into the penalty area, leaving Wright-Phillips a simple tap-in.
*    Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that reached a scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City at BBVA Compass Stadium. Jermaine Taylor and Boniek Garcia came back into the team from national team duty, in place of Eric Brunner and Andrew Driver.
*    HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Boniek Garcia, Warren Creavalle (Omar Cummings 66), Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Andrew Driver 84) - Giles Barnes, Will Bruin (Cam Weaver 84).

*    The defeat was their second this season by New York at BBVA Compass Stadium, having allowed seven goals in the two games.
*    "I don't think the first goal killed us for the rest of the game; obviously it was the game winner," Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. "We had our moments, we had our chances to score some goals. It's just a point of getting too desperate and you need to keep the same mindset."
*    Said center back Bobby Boswell: "I think the early goal killed us. I've said it time and time again, if you give up the first goal you hurt yourself and if you score the first goal you help yourself. The goal that quickly to start the game changes the dynamic of the game."
*    Since having their record home undefeated streak put to an end in May, the Dynamo have recorded a 5-4-3 in their last 12 home matches.
*    "We know we let one slip away here, but the only thing I can say is we still have a fighting chance. I know this for a fact that this team is pretty good with our backs against the wall," defender Bobby Boswell said. "I'd like to stop putting our backs against the wall because you're always worried about the what-ifs."
*    Even with a victory vs. D.C. United, the Dynamo will need one of the Montreal Impact, New England Revolution or Chicago Fire to fail to win to return to the postseason.
*    "All I can say is we're going to be in a very similar situation as we were last year," Boswell said. "I thought we kind of learned our lesson about being the last seed or a lower seed."
*    The Dynamo were shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since failing to score in three games from June 19-30.
*    The Dynamo did uncork 20 attempts at goal in the New York match, equaling their season-high also set May 18 vs. New England and July 6 vs. Philadelphia.
*    "We have a good team, obviously this game today doesn't exactly back up my statement with balloons and streamers, but I think we have a very good team," said Kinnear. "I have confidence that we're going to go to D.C and play and that we're going to go to Panama [in the CONCACAF Champions League] and play well."
*    On Thursday, the Dynamo concluded their CONCACAF Champions League campaign with a 1-0 loss to Arabe Unido in Panama. With the defeat, the Dynamo were knocked out of the competition after the group stage.
*    Here's the Dynamo team: Tyler Deric; Kofi Sarkodie (Giles Barnes 74), Bobby Boswell, Eric Brunner, Mike Chabala; Jason Johnson (Warren Creavalle 76), Servando Carrasco, Alexander LÛpez, Andrew Driver; Omar Cummings (Will Bruin 70), Cam Weaver

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