Preview: Dynamo, Crew heat up Texas in Eastern battle
HOUSTON DYNAMO vs COLUMBUS CREW
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM, Houston, Texas
August 19, 2012 (WEEK 24, MLS Game #234)
8 p.m. CT (FS-Hou/MultiM; FS-OH)
The Houston Dynamo will play host to the Columbus Crew on Sunday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium is a match that will have massive implications on the Eastern Conference race. The Dynamo find themselves in third place in the East, after their five-game winning run came to an end last weekend in a loss to New York. The Crew are now seven points out of the final playoff spot in the conference – but with games in hand – after their emotional 1-1 home draw at midweek with the LA Galaxy.
REFEREE: Drew Fischer. AR1 (bench): Chris Strickland; AR2 (opposite): Jeff Muschik; 4th: Ted Unkel
MLS Career: 2 games; FC/gm: 27.0; Y/gm: 2.5; R: 0; pens: 0
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- HOUSTON DYNAMO -- PROBABLE: FW Calen Carr (L knee swelling) … COLUMBUS CREW -- OUT: FW Tommy Heinemann (L knee surgery); GK William Hesmer (R hip surgery); MF Bernardo Anor (L knee ACL tear); DOUBTFUL: DF Nenamja Vukovic (L ankle sprain); DF Rich Balchan (sports hernia rehab); QUESTIONABLE: MF Danny O'Rourke (L ankle sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Calen Carr, Corey Ashe, Macoumba Kandji … CLB: Bernardo Anor, Chris Birchall, Tony Tchani, Sebastian Miranda
ALL-TIME (13 meetings): Dynamo 2 wins, 13 goals … Crew 4 wins, 17 goals … Ties 7
AT HOUSTON (6 meetings): Dynamo 1 win, 5 goals … Crew 1 win, 5 goals … Ties 4
- The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Goals from Will Bruin and Brian Ching canceled out a two-goal night from the Crew’s Eddie Gaven, leaving the teams in a 2-2 draw, April 21 in Columbus.
- The Crew have a six-game unbeaten streak alive against the Dynamo, over the last three seasons, with three wins and three draws in that time. Houston’s last victory in the series came Aug. 2, 2008.
- The Crew’s win at Robertson Stadium last year was their first ever. The teams had played to draws in four of the first five encounters there; the Dynamo won 2-0 on Aug. 2, 2008.
- Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. CLB: P17 W4 L6 D7 … Robert Warzycha vs. HOU: P7 W3 L0 D4
LAST MEETING (MLS)
4/21: CLB 2, HOU 2 (Gaven 63, 74 – Bruin 59; Ching 81)
- The Dynamo woke up the match with a 59th-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 Rentería.
- 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.
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-1-3-2): Andy Gruenebaum - Sebastian Miranda, Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Nemanja Vukovic (Shaun Francis 83) - Danny O'Rourke - Milovan Mirosevic, Tony Tchani (Ethan Finlay 72), Eddie Gaven - Emilio Renteria (Aaron Schoenfeld 67), Olman Vargas.
- 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).
The Houston Dynamo saw their five-game winning streak come to an end, dropping the back half of a home-and-home series with the New York Red Bulls in a 2-0 loss Friday at Red Bull Arena. The Dynamo are in third place in the Eastern Conference with 40 points from 24 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: NY 2, HOU 0
- The Red Bulls took the lead in the 61st minute. Tim Cahill got on the end of a Roy Miller cross and nodded the ball down to a wide-open Markus Holgersson, who had the easiest of finishes in front of goal for the opener.
- As Houston tried to pour on late pressure, New York to hit back on the counter to seal the result in stoppage time. Thierry Henry was freed on the left flank with no defenders ahead of him save goalkeeper Tally Hall, and slid a square pass to Jan Gunnar Solli for a tap-in into an empty net.
- Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made no changes to the team that defeated the Red Bulls at BBVA Compass Stadium.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-3-3): Tally Hall - Andre Hainault, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Boniek Garcia, Adam Moffat (Ricardo Clark 75), Brad Davis - Calen Carr (Luiz Camargo 66), Will Bruin (Brian Ching 70), Macoumba Kandji.
- The Dynamo saw not only their five-game winning streak come to an end, but also their eight-game unbeaten run, in the loss at the New York Red Bulls, the teams splitting their home-and-home series over successive Fridays.
- “[The team’s] upset we lost the game, especially considering we had some opportunities to get back and get something out of it, but we don’t get too high or too low,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “We weren’t boasting when we were winning and we’re not going to hang our heads because we lost a game. We’ve got an important game against Columbus next Sunday and that’s the most important thing right now.”
- The Dynamo also saw their defensive shutout streak snapped at 379 minutes by the Red Bulls – the fourth-longest in MLS this season – following three consecutive clean sheets. Houston allowed more than one goal in a game for the first time since a 4-2 loss in Montréal, June 23.
- “I thought we could have defended it a little better,” goalkeeper Tally Hall said. “I think I need to organize better. … It didn’t happen, and so I got to look at myself as responsible party of not organizing the defense as well.”
- The Dynamo were also shut out for the first time after scoring multiple goals in five consecutive matches, netting 13 since the scoreless draw with Sporting KC on July 7.
- “We’re staying level headed,” said forward Will Bruin. “Early on in the season we weren’t winning every game, but we stayed confident and then we got on a roll. We’re not losing confidence, we know we’re a good team and have good players and can make our goal. We’re going to have a good week of training and look forward to next week.”
- The goal scored by New York’s Markus Holgersson just after the hour was the first conceded in open play by the Dynamo since June 30, when Keon Daniel scored for Philadelphia Union. The only goal allowed by Houston in the 735 minutes in between came on a penalty kick (July 18 vs. Sporting KC).
- “I still think we’re one of the most difficult teams to break down and score on,” Hall said. “We still have the momentum that we’ve built in the last month-and-a-half. That’s where we are going forward, with the confidence that we can start a run all over next weekend.”
- Ricardo Clark made his first appearance for the Dynamo since 2009, after more than two years in Germany and a stint in Norway, coming on for the final 15 minutes in place of Adam Moffat.
- “He’s been with this team for a while, the guys all know him and he’s a good player,” Kinnear said. “As far as the integration into the team, I think that’s been going day-by-day and that the guys are happy to have him.”
The Columbus Crew came away with a point on an emotional night at midweek, reaching a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy on Wednesday at Crew Stadium. The Crew sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 29 points from 21 games.
- The Crew took the lead when Jairo Arrieta made something out of nothing just two minutes after the second-half restart. Arrieta took the ball on the right wing and cut toward the middle past several Galaxy defenders before firing with his left foot from the top of the arc, the shot rolling just inside Josh Saunders' left post.
- But the Galaxy pulled even in the 64th minute. Sean Franklin ran onto a ball down the right flank, nutmegged Crew midfielder Dilly Duka then sent his pass past a pair of defenders for Robbie Keane to tap into the net with an easy finish.
- Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made one change to the team that fell 1-0 to D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Cole Grossman came back from suspension, in place of Justin Meram.
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Sebastian Miranda, Carlos Mendes, Chad Marshall, Josh Williams - Cole Grossman (Emilio Renteria 70), Chris Birchall (Danny O'Rourke 86) - Eddie Gaven, Milovan Mirosevic, Dilly Duka (Justin Meram 74) - Jairo Arrieta.
WATCH: Philly on tough San Jose test
- The game was the first following the death of Crew midfielder Kirk Urso, who was honored in a prematch ceremony. Following the match, his parents visiting the team in the locker room.
- “For them to watch the team their son played for made me want to win the game that much more for him,” midfielder Eddie Gaven. “If we work with that kind of spirit, if we fight like that throughout the year, not only are we going to win more games than we lose but we’re going to be honoring Kirk’s memory pretty well.”
- Said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha: “We talked about focusing on the game and that it will be something we won’t forget. Obviously, the three points were not the most important thing today. I think there was a bigger thing we were playing for.”
- After the trip to Houston, the Crew will return home for games vs. Toronto and New England next week, their last back-to-back home games this season. They do not have any back-to-back road games remaining.
- “I was happy with the overlapping, with the commitment and the tackles and with the passing. That was good,” said Warzycha. “In the second half it was a little bit different. We scored a goal early and then they pushed us very hard and to be honest, before we figured out how to act, it was 1-1. They pushed us to the end of the game.”
- Jairo Arrieta scored his third goal in the last three games, after netting twice in the July 28 win vs. Sporting KC. He’s scored each of the last three goals the Crew have hit for.
- “I feel more comfortable. Scoring goals gives more confidence. As a forward, you want to be able to help the team and score more goals,” said Arrieta.
- With the exception of the return of Cole Grossman from suspension, the remainder of the team remained the same from the D.C. United victory – meaning Chris Birchall faced his former club for the first time.
- “It was always going to be an emotional game because of Kirk (Urso), but personally, for me, it was one that I was looking forward to. I was just trying to do myself and the team justice by playing well,” said Birchall.
- On Thursday, newly signed Designated Player Federico Higuain was introduced to the media in Columbus. He could be available for this weekend’s match, though might not play until the Aug. 22 rescheduled game with Toronto FC.
“[Federico] does a lot of things Guillermo [Barros Schelotto] did in his prime when he was in his late 20s,” Columbus technical director Brian Bliss said. “Scoring goals is a bonus in terms of what he does. That’s why we used the terms, ‘He’s going to chip a few in,’ or, ‘He’s going to contribute.’ He’s not going to be a prolific goalscorer. That’s not who he is.”