Preview: Dynamo in playoff position against Impact
HOUSTON DYNAMO vs MONTRÉAL IMPACT
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM, Houston, Texas
October 6, 2012 (WEEK 31, MLS Game #298)
7:30 p.m. CT (FS-HOU/MultiM; TVA)
A huge match in the playoff futures for both clubs is ahead when the Houston Dynamo entertain the Montréal Impact on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are holding on to fifth place in the Eastern Conference and the final playoff place, after a 2-0 win against New England last weekend that extended their home unbeaten record. The Impact return to action off a scoreless draw with Sporting KC knowing they cannot afford to lose a single point over their final three games if they are to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs in their expansion season.
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REFEREE: Chris Penso. SAR (bench): Jason Cullum; JAR (opposite): Mark Cahen; 4th: Jasen Anno
MLS Career: 30 games; FC/gm: 22.1; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 7; pens: 11
- HOUSTON DYNAMO – OUT: MF Brad Davis (L calf strain); PROBABLE: MF Giles Barnes (R quad strain) …
- MONTREAL IMPACT – OUT: GK Greg Sutton (eye bruise); DF Nelson Rivas (L knee surgery); FW Bernardo Corradi (L knee ACL tear)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: MTL: Collen Warner (caution accumulation; through Oct. 7)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: HOU: Bobby Boswell
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Corey Ashe, Calen Carr, Brad Davis, Macoumba Kandji … MTL: Davy Arnaud, Patrice Bernier, Bernardo Corradi, Sanna Nyassi
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Dynamo 1 win, 5 goals … Impact 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 0
- AT HOUSTON (1 meeting): Dynamo 1 win, 3 goals … Impact 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0
- 2012 (MLS): 6/23: MTL 4, HOU 2 (Nyassi 4; Arnaud 21; Camara 60; Bernier 67 – Davis 16; Bruin 45), 7/21: HOU 3, MTL 0 (Kandji 7, 89; Boswell 84)
- The teams are meeting for the third time, after high-scoring affairs in their first two. Davy Arnaud and Patrice Bernier each had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 Impact win, June 23 at Stade Saputo, in their first meeting. A brace from Mac Kandji led the Dynamo to a 3-0 win July 21 in Houston.
- Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. MTL: P2 W1 L1 T0 … Jesse Marsch vs. HOU: P2 W1 L1 T0
• The Dynamo opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Macoumba Kandji received a pass in the area and, after his first shot was parried by Montreal goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, he found the back of the net when his rebound effort hit both Ricketts and Impact defender Zarek Valentin.
• The Dynamo doubled the lead in the 84th minute when center back Bobby Boswell snapped home a corner kick from second half substitute Brad Davis.
• Kandji capped his brace by streaking down the left side and hitting a powerful right-footed shot into the far upper corner five minutes later.
• HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-3-3): Tally Hall - Andre Hainault, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Luiz Camargo (Brad Davis 68), Warren Creavalle, Boniek Garcia - Calen Carr (Je-Vaughn Watson 58), Will Bruin (Brian Ching 82), Macoumba Kandji.
• MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Zarek Valentin (Karl Ouimette 26), Shavar Thomas, Hassoun Camara, Dennis Iapichino - Collen Warner, Lamar Neagle (Justin Mapp 74) - Davy Arnaud, Felipe Martins, Sanna Nyassi - Marco Di Vaio (Patrice Bernier 61).
The Houston Dynamo maintained their long undefeated streak at home, recording a late 2-0 win against the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 49 points from 31 games.
• The Dynamo finally broke through in the 77th minute. Brad Davis hit in a short cross and Ricardo Clark kept his footing long enough to just get enough of a touch to send it inside the far post, past New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
WATCH: Dynamo dump Revolution
• Houston added a second in the 93rd minute when rookie Warren Creavalle pushed the ball down field and hit a curling cross that found a streaking Boniek García, who drove home a shot from the top of the box.
• Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made three changes to the team that fell to a 3-1 loss to Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Corey Ashe came into the back four for Andre Hainault, Adam Moffat stepped into the midfield in place of Luiz Camargo, and Calen Carr started up top in favor of Macoumba Kandji.
• HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Boniek Garcia, Adam Moffat, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Warren Creavalle 91+) - Will Bruin (Cam Weaver 74), Calen Carr (Brian Ching 65).
• The win was just the second for the Dynamo in the last eight games after reeling off five consecutive victories from July 15-August 3.
• “We weren’t going to give up any goals in the back and guys were getting the ball wide and bombing the box,” Bobby Boswell said. “We’re tough at home for a reason. Sometimes it ain’t the prettiest, but all that matters is that we’re still undefeated and we’re getting wins and that’s what we need to do, and that’s the most important thing.”
• The victory kept the Dynamo in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and holding the last playoff spot in the division, one point ahead of Columbus with three games remaining for both clubs. “We are in a position where we can control our own destiny if we take care of business,” said Boswell. “We are going to put pressure on ourselves to win and, hopefully, they go our way.
• After moving to a 4-3-3 scheme in early July, Kinnear returned to a 4-4-2 formation for the New England match, with Brad Davis again moving to a wide role opposite Boniek Garcia and Adam Moffat and Ricardo Clark as the deep-lying central axis.
• “It was a good balance in there,” Clark said. “[Moffat’s] one of those players that will have your back in midfield and balance for you, cover for you and do all the dirty work, kind of what I do most of the time. It was a good partnership and definitely helped us.”
• Said Moffat: “I think we did really well together. During the week, we played alongside each other and it felt good. Both of us felt like we had a good understanding of when one person goes the other one sticks. We’re both willing to get stuck in and keep the ball so it frees one of us.”
• Clark scored his first goal since his return to MLS, and now has a goal in each one of his eight seasons in the league.“We asked [Clark] at halftime to get a little closer to the forwards and try and join the attack,” said Kinnear. “That was a great finish. You would never know he was a holding midfielder his whole life with the finish.”
• Davis recorded his 12th assist of the season, his fourth consecutive season with at least 12 assists. He now has 92 assists for his league career, now seventh on the all-time MLS list.
• “It comes from possession and movement,” Kinnear said. “We tell the guys drop it in the middle and we make sure to go out wide. We have two guys in Boniek [García] and Brad [Davis] who cross a good ball and one thing you want to do is pressure them in their area.”
• It was the 12th clean sheet of the season for Tally Hall, a new single-season high for a Dynamo goalkeeper.
• “It’s a goalkeeper stat, and I think that’s unfair to the other guys on the team because it’s such team defending, and that’s no truer than with this team,” Hall said. “It’s fantastic and is obviously something you look at, at the beginning of the year and say it’s great to have that.”
The Montréal Impact return to action after a week off, their last match a scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City on Sept. 22 at Stade Saputo. The Impact are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 40 points from 31 matches.
• Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was credited with three saves in comfortably picking up his league-leading 14th shutout, making a key stop in stoppage time from Matteo Ferrari’s powerful header off a Marco Di Vaio free kick.
WATCH: Impact, SKC in stalemate
• Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins made two saves on the rainy afternoon, not greatly troubled between the posts.
• Impact head coach Jesse Marsch made two changes to the team that lost 3-1 to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Jeb Brovsky came back into the team for Nelson Rivas, and Justin Mapp also returned in place of Sanna Nyassi.
• MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Troy Perkins - Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta (Sanna Nyassi 57), Jeb Brovsky - Collen Warner, Patrice Bernier - Davy Arnaud, Felipe Martins, Justin Mapp (Andrew Wenger 46) - Marco Di Vaio.
• The Impact saw their winless run extended to three games in the home draw last time out, though it snapped a two-game losing slide.
• “If we are alive and we go down to Houston and get a win, you never know at that point the way things can play out. At the end of the year, there is pressure and things are crazy,” said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch. “We are still alive. We had a bit of an unbalanced schedule at the beginning of the year, and that may have hurt us a little, but all teams at one point in the season could have complained about their schedule. It is what it is and we still have a chance, so we will do everything we can to be ready for the Houston game.”
• The Impact head into their final three games knowing they cannot afford to lose a single point if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs in their expansion season.
• “At the end of the day, we’re still not out of it,” said Davy Arnaud. “If we can go to Houston on Saturday and win, and make them think about it a little bit, make Columbus think about it a little bit on Sunday, there’s still going to be a little chance for us.”
• The Impact were shut out in attack for the first time since their last meeting with Houston, a 3-0 loss at BBVA Compass Stadium on July 21. Montréal has suffered back-to-back shutouts just once this season – consecutive 3-0 losses to Toronto FC and D.C. United on June 27 and 30.
• “In the first half, not only did they press our backs with the ball, but our attacking players couldn’t find any room because they were just basically going man-to-man,” Marsch said. “I don’t think we did a good enough job between moving away from defenders, trying to play behind their backline, we didn’t adjust enough.”
• Justin Mapp returned to the Impact starting lineup for the first time since Aug. 12 in the SKC match, playing 45 minutes before he came off for Andrew Wenger.
• The addition of Wenger to start the second half also signaled a shift in tactics, with the rookie partnering Marco Di Vaio in a twin-striker setup.
• “We tried until the very end,” defender Hassoun Camara said. “We changed the tactics at halftime because we didn’t want them to play as if they were at home. We had a second focal point in the middle of their defense after Andrew came on, and we went deeper into their half.”
• For the last eight matches, Collen Warner and Patrice Bernier have filled the deep-lying central midfield role in Marsch’s tactical scheme. But that will change vs. Houston with Warner suspended for caution accumulation.
• “It will be a factor next game, but it’s going to be about who will be on the field,” said Marsch. “It will be about competing down in Houston. Whenever we had guys drop out, we’ve had people step up and play well.”
• During the break, the Impact lost defender Nelson Rivas for the remainder of the season after he was forced to undergo surgery on his left knee.
• “It’s unfortunate to lose him for the last three games of the season, but we felt this was the best time for him to get the surgery,” said Impact sporting director Nick De Santis. “We want to ensure that he comes back in full form to reclaim his starting spot as central defender next season.”