Preview: Houston return home to face rejuvenated Union
HOUSTON DYNAMO vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM, Houston, Texas
June 30, 2012 (WEEK 17, MLS Game #153)
7:30 p.m. CT (KPRC-2; TCN-Phi)
The Houston Dynamo and Philadelphia Union face off for the first time this season when the Eastern Conference clubs clash Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo saw their road winless run extended last weekend, falling 4-2 to the Montreal Impact. Union put an end to their long overall winless streak, rolling to a 4-0 win against Sporting Kansas City at PPL Park.
REFEREE: Fotis Bazakos. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): George Gansner; 4th:Jorge Luna Hernandez
MLS Career: 3 games; FC/gm: 24.3; Y/gm: 2.3; R: 0; pens: 0
- HOUSTON DYNAMO -- OUT: DF Alex Dixon (concussion); MF Calen Carr (L hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: DF Oscar Recio (concussion); MF Je-Vaughn Watson (L adductor strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jermaine Taylor (R hip flexor strain)
- PHILADELPHIA UNION -- OUT: FW Chandler Hoffman (L big toe fracture); FW Krystian Witkowski (concussion symptoms); DOUBTFUL: DF Sheanon Williams (R big toe avulsion fracture); PROBABLE: DF Gabriel Farfan (lower back/pelvis contusion); DF Chris Albright (R groin strain); MF Gabriel Gomez (L knee contusion/patellar tendonitis)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: HOU: Adam Moffat (through June 30) ... PHI: Raymon Gaddis (through June 30)
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: PHI: Gabriel Gomez
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Calen Carr ... PHI: Michael Farfan, Carlos Valdes, Brian Carroll
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Dynamo 0 wins, 4 goals ... Union 2 wins, 6 goals ... Ties 2
AT HOUSTON (2 meetings): Dynamo 0 wins, 2 goals ... Union 2 wins, 4 goals ... Ties 0
RETURN MATCHES: 9/23: Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo, 4 p.m. ET; 10/20: Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union, 6:30 p.m. CT (NBC SN)
LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/19: HOU 0, PHI 1 (Califf 5)
8/6: PHI 1, HOU 1 (McInerney 15 - Cameron 84)
- Union are undefeated all-time in league play vs. Houston. They won both meetings at Robertson Stadium, including a 1-0 victory last April, while playing to two draws at PPL Park.
- But the Dynamo won both legs of last year's Eastern Conference Semifinal Series, a 2-1 win in Chester followed by a 1-0 victory in Houston, on their way to MLS Cup 2011.
- Coaches record: John Hackworth vs. HOU: first game ... Dominic Kinnear v PHI: P4 W0 L2 D2
The Houston Dynamo saw their road winless streak extended to eight games, going down to a 4-2 defeat by the Montreal Impact on Saturday evening at Stade Saputo. The Dynamo are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 20 points from 15 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: Impact roll against Houston
- The Impact led after just four minutes. Felipe released Sanna Nyassi into space behind the Houston defense, and as he tried to round Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall, he stumbled and fell but had time to lift his head and see the ball somehow trickle into the empty net.
- The Dynamo were level, though, in the 16th minute after Patrice Bernier tripped Colin Clark on the edge of the box. From the free kick, Brad Davis unleashed a left footed curler towards the top right corner which Donovan Ricketts could not fully stop.
- Yet five minutes later the Impact were back in front. Jeb Brovsky released Justin Mapp on the left of the box, where he crossed towards Davy Arnaud who outjumped Corey Ashe to nod the ball home.
- But just before halftime the score was again level. Brian Ching played an exquisite through ball and Will Bruin lashed it home from inside the area.
- The Impact came out after the break by winning a long series of corner kick, one of which produced the eventual winner as Hassoun Camara volleyed home at the back post.
- The Dynamo's Geoff Cameron then conceded a penalty which Bernier duly converted to make it 4-2 in the 67th minute. The visitors ended the game a man short after Adam Moffat was shown a straight red card for a rough foul on Felipe in the 73rd minute.
- Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that came back from two goals down for a 3-3 draw with Toronto FC at BBVA Compass Stadium. Je-Vaughn Watson came into the midfield for Luiz Camargo, and Brian Ching started up top for Macoumba Kandji.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Andre Hainault, Geoff Cameron, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Colin Clark (Brian Ownby 62), Adam Moffat (sent off 73), Je-Vaughn Watson (Luiz Camargo 51), Brad Davis - Will Bruin, Brian Ching (Warren Creavalle 81).
Boniek Garcia on his arrival in Houston
- The Dynamo are now winless in their last eight away matches, after winning their first two to start a long season-opening road swing. They are still unbeaten in their new BBVA Compass Stadium.
- "I don't think I handled the team correctly after Wednesday night," said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. We looked tired and I think that's down to my team selection. Every once in a while the coach has to stand up and say the defeat is on him and I have no problems doing that tonight. I coached and picked the game very poorly tonight."
- Since back-to-back shutouts May 12 and 15 vs. D.C. United and Portland, the Dynamo have conceded 15 goals in their last six games. The seven goals allowed over the two games vs. Toronto and Montreal mark the most allowed over a two-game stretch since the club moved to Houston.
- "This is new territory for the guys that are back there right now," defender Bobby Boswell said. "We've been pretty stingy and I think we've gotten a little loose lately. There's no excuse for it. To give up seven goals in two games is definitely not a good thing."
- For the third time in four games, the Dynamo conceded the opening goal in the first 15 minutes. They've allowed 12 goals in the opening half-hour of games - by far the most in MLS (the six in the opening 15 minutes is tied with San Jose). They've allowed 13 first-half goals, also tied for most in the league.
- "It's not a question of if we can succeed, we know we can and we have the history that shows it," goalkeeper Tally Hall said. "It's about coming together, being on the same page and covering for each other better. When we start doing that we'll start cutting down the holes. To have a week like that, or two weeks going back to the Vancouver game, where the defense is extremely porous it's extremely frustrating. But it's a unit that we know can succeed and can be one of the best in MLS."
- "It's team defending," said Kinnear. "When you don't put pressure on the ball, there are good enough players in this league that can put together the right passes. If we talk early, and are decisive with our communication we can cut down on running. It's a little out of character for us but it's a reality."
- Will Bruin has scored in three consecutive games and has five goals in the last six matches after scoring in the 4-2 loss at Montreal. Of Bruin's nine goals, six have come on the road.
- "I think he was tired of us defenders talk a lot of trash about being Golden Boot winners," said defender Bobby Boswell. "He's made it tough for anyone to catch him this year. I think last year he felt like he could've scored a lot more goals than he did. I think he's finding himself in front of the goal and this year he's putting them away."
- Brian Ching recorded his third assist this season on Bruin's goal. "We're starting to read each other more and more and feel more comfortable," Bruin said. "I know what he likes to do and he knows what I like to do, so we're starting and get that good partnership going."
- The Dynamo were without starting Jamaican international fullback Jermaine Taylor, who missed his second game in a row with a hip flexor strain.
- "It hurts because he's not available and maybe you can move some guys in and out if you have him," Kinnear said. "But saying that, they broke well on us and we didn't have enough energy to step on the ball or step out on them. I think we should've had a fresher team on the field."
Philadelphia Union put an end to their winless streak at six games in emphatic fashion, rolling to a 4-0 win against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening at PPL Park. Union are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points from 13 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: Philly bounce back in big way vs. SKC
- Union took the lead with the first opening-minute goal in club history. Raymon Gaddis chased down a long ball and played the ball across the face of goal, where Lionard Pajoy managed to keep the ball in play. Jack McInerney latched onto the loose ball lashing a shot into the back of the net from close range.
- McInerney showed off his poaching ability again just before the end of the first. A Freddy Adu service in the 43rd minute took a deflection and found defender Carlos Valdes, whose attempt on net was stopped. McInerney, though, was there to gobble up the rebound.
- Union made the lead 3-0 with about 20 minutes to play. Substitute Antoine Hoppenot made a nifty cutback move in the box and was taken down by SKC defender Aurelien Collin, drawing a penalty kick, which converted by Pajoy.
- Then, in the 87th minute, Hoppenot grabbed a goal of his own when Michael Farfan sent him in alone on goal, giving the forward time and space to loft a shot over KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
- Union interim manager John Hackworth made two changes to the team that lost 1-0 to D.C. United at PPL Park. Raymon Gaddis came into the back four for Sheanon Williams, and Lionard Pajoy returned from suspension in place of Josue Martinez.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Zac MacMath - Raymon Gaddis, Amobi Okugo, Carlos Valdes, Gabriel Farfan - Freddy Adu (Antoine Hoppenot 59), Michael Lahoud, Brian Carroll, Michael Farfan - Lionard Pajoy, Jack McInerney (Keon Daniel 73).
Gloat over win vs. KC, get free haircut
- The victory was the first for interim manager John Hackworth, in his second game in charge after taking over for Peter Nowak.
- "I hope it's one of many. So I'm not going to get too high. I'm not going to get too low," Hackworth said. "You know I've been doing this a long time. I've had teams where I've started off and it's been a long time before I got my first win. You just have to manage it and believe in it. The guys in the locker room get full credit for sure."
- Union put an end to a seven-game winless run with the victory, by far the biggest offensive output of the season for the club. They had scored three goals total in their last five games.
- "I don't think we gave up any true counters, and I think that's a credit to our back line to keep it in front of them," said Hackworth. "We made some really good tackles to prevent that. The midfielders took out passing lanes, and when you see that when they get into their run and gun up and down game they really like to play. ... Just happy we can produce a result like that and score four goals."
- A week after making his first start of 2012, in the first game under Hackworth, Jack McInerney recorded his first career two-goal game, sending Union on their way.
- "I'm not that fast, and I'm not that big," McInerney said. "So I need to put myself in good spots. To get two sitters tonight shows what kind of forward I am."
- McInerney's opener, officially recorded after 59 seconds, was the earliest goal scored in Union club history. It was the fifth first-minute goal scored this season in MLS.
- "Right now, [my confidence] is as high as it can be," McInerney said. "It's been a rough season for me but two starts and two goals feels good."
- Coming off the substitutes' bench for a third straight stint of about a half-hour in league play, rookie Antoine Hoppenot scored his first MLS goal to close out the scoring.
- "We knew Antoine was going to create some problems and be dangerous," Hackworth said. "I'm surprised he went for the chip again. But that's confidence for you." Said Hoppenot: "It's great for me. I get to come in with 30 minutes left and their defenders are dead tired after chasing Jack [McInerney] for 60 minutes. ... They don't want to run after me. I love it."
- It was Union's first shutout since April 21 vs. Chivas USA, the last of three consecutive clean sheets.
- "We prepared well and the players certainly took the mentality that we're not going to give that up any more. It's been an Achilles heel all year," said Hackworth. "It took a lot of pride in that, and was lead the way by Carlos [Valdes]. I mean Carlos was the man in the air in the box tonight. Zac MacMath did a great job coming off his line tonight to help. Gabe Farfan was beating Kei Kamara headers. You know there's a little bit of heart and soul in everything they're doing tonight, so that was great."
- On Tuesday, Union announced the signing of defender Bakary Soumare. He was a finalist for MLS Defender of the Year honors in 2008 with the Chicago Fire, playing for the club from 2007-09. He was transferred to French side Boulogne in August 2009 and appeared in 65 games for the club, before being loaned in January to German club Karlsruher SC. He has been capped by Mali 13 times.