Preview: Houston look to snap United unbeaten streak
D.C. UNITED vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
RFK MEMORIAL STADIUM, Washington, D.C.
April 28, 2012 (WEEK 8, MLS Game #68)
7:30 p.m. ET (CSN-MA; KPRC-2)
Riding their longest unbeaten streak in three years, D.C. United return to RFK Stadium on Saturday evening to take on the Houston Dynamo. United are coming off an impressive 4-1 victory against the New York Red Bulls last Sunday, extending their undefeated run to six games. The Dynamo are on the sixth game of their season-opening road swing, playing to a 2-2 draw last weekend at the Columbus Crew.
REFEREE: Juan Guzman. SAR (bench): Adam Wienckowski; JAR (opposite): Craig Lowry; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic
MLS Career: 10 games; FC/gm: 26.6; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 6; pens: 2
- D.C. UNITED - OUT: DF Ethan White (R knee surgery); MF Lance Rozeboom (L knee ACL tear); QUESTIONABLE: MF Kurt Morsink (L foot neurectomy); FW Josh Wolff (L hamstring strain); DF Dejan Jakovic (L ankle sprain)
- HOUSTON DYNAMO -- OUT: FW Brian Ownby (L elbow dislocation); FW Colin Rolfe (R hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Brad Davis (L calf strain); DF Corey Ashe (L hamstring strain); DF Warren Creavalle (L ankle sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: HOU: Colin Clark (through April 28)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Maicon Santos
ALL-TIME (12 meetings): United 3 wins, 12 goals ... Dynamo 7 wins, 20 goals ... Ties 2
AT RFK (6 meetings): United 3 wins, 8 goals ... Dynamo 2 wins, 8 goals ... Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 5/12: Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United, 3:30 p.m. CT (NBC SN); 7/15: Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United, 8 p.m. CT (Galavision)
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/29: HOU 4, DC 1 (Bruin 4, 41, 57; Weaver 62 - Burch 39)
6/25: DC 2, HOU 2 (Pontius 31; Davies 73 - Davis 41; Ching 89)
- The Dynamo haven't lost to D.C. United since a 1-0 defeat April 4, 2009 at RFK Stadium. The Dynamo won the next four meetings, including a 4-1 win last year at Robertson Stadium, before the clubs played to a 2-2 draw last June 25 in Washington.
- The Dynamo have taken points on their last two trips to RFK Stadium. They have also won in a SuperLiga game (2008), as well as MLS Cup 2007.
- Coaches record: Ben Olsen v HOU: P3 W0 L2 D1 ... Dominic Kinnear vs. DC: P17 W8 L5 D4
D.C. United extended their unbeaten streak to six games, strolling to a 4-1 win against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday evening at RFK Stadium. United are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 12 points from 8 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: United torch Red Bulls in Atlantic Cup showdown
- United opened the scoring in the eighth minute. After stripping the ball from Thierry Henry in midfield, Chris Pontius made his way toward goal, and with a clear sight from outside the box, unleashed a powerful 25-yard shot that dipped and beat goalkeeper Ryan Meara.
- United then put the game away with two goals in four minutes. In the 32nd minute, Maicon Santos worked his way down the left flank before sending in a cross that hit Meara and deflected off a defender before falling right in front of goal, where Pontius slammed it into the goal.
- It was 3-0 when Dwayne De Rosario picked off another New York turnover and quickly fed Nick DeLeon in the box. The rookie fired a one-time shot that ricocheted off defender Markus Holgersson, leaving ëkeeper Meara no chance.
- In the 69th minute, Pontius completed his hat trick. A long ball pumped forward from goalkeeper Joe Willis fell for Pontius, who slalomed through the center of the New York defense, skipped past Victor Palsson's last-ditch slide tackle, and slotted the shot under Meara.
- Henry finally got the Red Bulls on the board in the 72nd minute through an inch-perfect freekick.
- United head coach Ben Olsen made four changes to the team that came back for a 1-1 draw with the MontrÈal Impact at RFK Stadium. Emiliano Dudar came into the back four for Chris Korb, and Danny Cruz and Maicon Santos came into the side for Andy Najar and Branko Boskovic.
- D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Joe Willis - Robbie Russell, Brandon McDonald, Emiliano Dudar, Daniel Woolard - Danny Cruz, Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon - Dwayne De Rosario (Stephen King 66) - Maicon Santos (Hamdi Salihi 75), Chris Pontius (Lewis Neal 87).
MLS Player of the Week (7): Chris Pontius
- D.C. United extended their unbeaten streak to six games in the 4-1 win against New York, their longest undefeated run in three seasons. United had a seven-game streak from April 17-May 23, 2009.
- "We have to take the win with a grain of salt, but I feel like we took advantage of that, and that's what you have to do," Olsen said. "Throughout the season, you're going to have games like this where you are playing a team that's a little down, and you got to step on them and take advantage of them."
- Chris Pontius scored the first hat trick of his professional career against New York. He had scored two goals in a game twice previously.
- "I thought he had a good night," Olsen said. "He still doesn't know how to play forward though. And that's a scary thing. He's still new at the position, and some of his movements can get a lot better. But three goals aren't too bad."
- Pontius had started the first two games of the season in a wide midfield role, then after coming off the substitutes' bench in four consecutive matches, has started as a forward in each of the last two.
- "I have always said that I just want to be on the field," Pontius said. "The game is different. Different defenses offer different opportunities for you to get in behind. Sometimes it's underneath, this game I had success just moving off the ball and creating space for myself and Maicon [Santos] and DeRo [Dwayne De Rosario] to run into. We were able to find each other today."
- While Maicon Santos was officially kept off the scoresheet, after scoring four goals and adding an assist over the last four games, his work helped create United's second goal.
- "He's a big boy. He is a handful, as we all have seen so far. He put in another good day. I keep preaching to him, consistency and being a handful and being strong and keeping the ball for us," said Olsen. "He always has times where he's facing the goal on his left, and his left peg is a nice weapon. A little bit of an individual, just gutsy play on his part to create that goal."
- Nick DeLeon scored his third goal, the leader among rookies in MLS this season. "Last game, we had a slow start and that's what we preached really hard for this game," DeLeon said. We can't afford to have that start, so we came out banging and were fortunate enough to get three goals in the first half. And from then on, it was just about trying to hold that lead and maybe sneak in a couple more."
- After starting up top against MontrÈal, Dwayne De Rosario shifted back into a midfield role. "Dwayne being in the midfield, he's doing a lot for us, and we're going to continue to score goals with him in the midfield," Olsen said. "Dwayne doesn't care. Of course, you always want goals and assists; we all have egos. But ultimately, you'll see a smile on his face in there."
- United have allowed four goals in their six-game run, and have not allowed more than a goal except once this season - the 3-1 loss at the LA Galaxy.
- "I thought [Emiliano] Dudar had a really good game. In particular, the way he deals with Cooper and Henry in a physical way. He had a very good game," said Olsen. "The whole back four was solid; they were connected. We didn't get caught in behind too many times. They defended the box very well. I was very pleased with the way they're coming along."
The Houston Dynamo played to a second consecutive draw, this time a 2-2 result with the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Dynamo are tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 8 points from 5 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: Houston play out a wild draw in Columbus
- The Dynamo woke up the match with a 58th-minute opener. From a corner kick, Will Bruin nodded home Adam Moffat's in-swinging ball inside the back post.
- The Crew tied the score four minutes later. From a long clearance, Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron pushed the ball back to goalkeeper Tally Hall, but his headed clearance went only as far as Eddie Gaven. He hit a soft shot toward goal that Dynamo fullback Andre Hainault helped further along in an effort to steer it away from the Crew's Emilio Renter"a.
- In the 74th minute, Gaven doubled his tally and gave the Crew the lead. Second-half substitute Aaron Schoenfeld chested a ball down just outside the box to an onrushing Gaven, who one-timed a left-footed shot into the back of the net.
- But the Dynamo pulled even nine minutes from the end. Bruin found space on the right side of the box and placed a perfect pass between Crew defenders that enabled Ching to redirect just inside the left-hand post.
- Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Adam Moffat came back from suspension, taking the place of Nathan Sturgis.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Andre Hainault, Geoff Cameron, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor - Je-Vaughn Watson (Calen Carr 79), Adam Moffat, Luiz Camargo, Corey Ashe (Macoumba Kandji 91+) - Will Bruin, Brian Ching (Cam Weaver 84).
Dynamo debut 3rd jersey
- Through the first three games of the season, a Dynamo forward had not contributed a goal or an assist. But after combining for the lone goal in the 1-1 draw at Chicago, Will Bruin and Brian Ching each scored in the 2-2 draw at Columbus.
- "I thought Ching and Will both were battling the whole night and winning their fair share," goalkeeper Tally Hall said. "I don't think many can come away from a game with the Crew and say they battled as well as we did. That comes a lot from those two guys up top. Will's goal on the corner, he was getting bear-hugged and fought right through it. For them to get two goals, they deserve it and they did it with hard work."
- But for the second time in as many matches, the Dynamo took the lead, only to see their opponents come back for an eventual share of the points.
- "I thought we took our foot off the gas [after taking the lead], and that's something I think we need to work on," Ching said. "I think we started playing hectic and panicked. There was a loss of composure. Something we have to work on going forward is playing with the lead."
- After recording shutouts in the opening two games of the season, the Dynamo have allowed five goals in their last three games.
- "We're a team that's been together now and when you look at the last half of last year and the beginning of this year, they don't get rattled," Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. "We did lose our composure a little bit, especially after their first goal, and then Columbus took advantage, but the guys had enough time to get something out of the game."
- Said center back Geoff Cameron: "We've got to tighten up. We've been known to be hard to score on once we go up and we've got to get that mentality back. It's just been mistakes, mental lapses, and they've cost us."
- With a win, the Dynamo will match the best record on an extended road trip to open an MLS season. The Columbus Crew took 11 points from their season-opening seven-game road trip to start 1999. The Dynamo have eight from the first five games of their seven-game road start.
- "I've been proud of the way we've defended, not giving up goals. To give up two goals like that, it's disappointing," said Hall. "We know we're a good defensive team, so to give up a lead is disappointing for us. At the same time, we came back 2-1 down and scored a great, late goal. Great effort, we're walking out of here with a point. I think it's probably a fair result."