Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo: MLS Match Preview
TORONTO FC vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
April 20, 2013 (WEEK 8, MLS Game #62) 4 p.m. ET (TSN; KPRC-NBC/KTBU)
Toronto FC return to BMO Field for a key Eastern Conference match when they play host to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday afternoon. TFC have played to three consecutive draws, coming off a late 1-1 result at Philadelphia Union last weekend. The Dynamo made history in their last match, extending their home undefeated streak to an MLS record with a 2-1 win against the Chicago Fire.
REFEREE: Drew Fischer. AR1 (bench): Joe Fletcher; AR2 (opposite): Claudio Badea; 4th: Mathieu Bourdeau
MLS Career: 10 games; FC/gm: 26.9; Y/gm: 2.5; R: 0; pens: 4
DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: TOR: Ashtone Morgan (through April 21)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (13 meetings): Toronto FC 3 wins, 13 goals … Dynamo 4 wins, 19 goals … Ties 6
AT TORONTO (6 meetings): Toronto FC 2 wins, 6 goals … Dynamo 1 win, 6 goals … Ties 3
RETURN MATCH: 6/22: Houston Dynamo vs. Toronto FC, 8 p.m. CT
LAST YEAR (MLS):
6/20: HOU 3, TOR 3 (Boswell 20; Bruin 73, 90 – J. Hall 13; Koevermans 22, 45)
7/28: TOR 0, HOU 2 (Carr 45; Ching 86)
8/25: HOU 1, TOR 1 (Bruin 21 – Dunfield 85)
- The Dynamo have a four-game undefeated streak alive vs. Toronto FC, winning once with a pair of draws – both at BBVA Compass Stadium – a season ago.
- The Dynamo win at BMO Field last July 28, a 2-0 victory, was the club’s first ever on the shores of Lake Ontario. TFC had won two of the first five meetings there, with three draws.
- Coaches record: Ryan Nelsen vs. HOU: first game … Dominic Kinnear v TOR: P13 W4 L3 D6
Toronto FC played to a third draw in a row, Philadelphia Union coming back for a 1-1 result on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. TFC sit in for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 6 points from 6 matches.
- Toronto FC took the lead in the 71st minute. Robert Earnshaw got behind the Union defense on a long ball from Ashtone Morgan and chipped it over Philly goalkeeper Zac MacMath for his fifth goal of the season, tying for the league lead.
- TFC then went a man down in the 88th minute when fullback Ashtone Morgan was sent off for a second yellow card. Union made them pay in stoppage time when a loose ball was kept alive in the penalty area, Conor Casey pulling a half-chance wide from close range, but Jack McInerney was well-placed beyond the back post to turn it into the goal.
- TFC boss Ryan Nelsen made two changes to the team that reached a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas at BMO Field. Justin Braun and Luis Silva came into the midfield in place of John Bostock and Jonathan Osorio.
- TORONTO FC (4-3-1-2): Joseph Bendik - Darel Russell (Ryan Richter 7), Darren O'Dea, Gale Agbossoumonde, Ashtone Morgan (sent off 88) - Jeremy Hall - Hogan Ephraim, Luis Silva (Jonathan Osorio 73), Reggie Lambe - Robert Earnshaw (John Bostock 86), Justin Braun.
- Robert Earnshaw netted his fifth goal in as many games, pulling him level atop the MLS Golden Boot standings (with LA’s Mike Magee). Earnshaw saw his three-game goalscoring streak come to an end the week before vs. FC Dallas.
- “He has been fantastic since he walked in the door. And when you got young players and they see Rob week in and week out training and playing, you could only learn. He is great around the locker room, as well and he is a great guy,” Nelsen said.
- Goalkeeper Joe Bendik recorded a career-high nine saves, facing 10 shots on target, in making his 11th career MLS start.
- “Of course you always want your goalkeeper to come up big. We didn’t ask Joe to do much in the last five games and we were away from home, so your ‘keeper has to do that,” said Nelsen. “I think our whole defense was very good and very strong. We couldn’t get a lot of our rhythm going but at least we defended well.”
- Already hit by injuries to defender Richard Eckersley and midfielder Terry Dunfield, Darel Russell had to come off after just 7 minutes.
- “[Russell] tweaked his hamstring,” Nelsen said. “We obviously wanted to get him off quickly as we didn't want to make it worse than it already was.”
- There will certainly be a change on the other side of the back four for the Houston match after Ashtone Morgan was sent off late vs. Philadelphia.
- “I thought he was fantastic,” Nelsen said of Morgan. “He actually got smashed on the tackle and then he went up and won a head ball and he got sent off. I felt very sorry for him because I thought he played really well. He had a great game. He got a big kick and studs on the leg and he battled through it when he could have gone off. He really had an excuse to go off and he didn’t. He fought through it and he battled hard and he didn’t deserve what he got.”
- Ryan Richter, who was picked up by Toronto FC during the offseason, made his debut for the Reds in place of Russell. Richter started his pro career with Philadelphia in 2011.
- “Obviously I played here but I grew up here and went to school here so it is really coming home it is not just coming back to the team I played for,” said Richter. “But I had a lot of people in the stands and I was very happy to go out in front of them and get on the field.”
The Houston Dynamo saw their home undefeated streak reach record proportions, defeating the Chicago Fire 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 12 points from 6 matches.
- The Dynamo took the lead in the 26th minute. Brad Davis turned Wells Thompson inside-out to get space and swing in a perfect cross from the left flank, and Will Bruin made no mistake, heading his shot inside the far post out of Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson’s reach.
- But the Fire were level three minutes later. Houston was unable to clear a long throw-in and Daniel Paladini latched onto the ball, laying it past Corey Ashe to Chris Rolfe, who blasted a first-time shot to the near corner.
- The Dynamo hit for the winner in the 81st minute. Davis took a Kofi Sarkodie pass on the right flank and clipped in a cross that sailed through the box untouched before nestling in the far-side netting.
- Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that dropped a 2-0 decision to the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field. Will Bruin came back into the team, in place of Cam Weaver.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-3-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Ricardo Clark - Andrew Driver (Warren Creavalle 71), Adam Moffat, Brad Davis - Giles Barnes (Cam Weaver 86), Will Bruin (Brian Ching 75).
- The Dynamo set the all-time MLS record for consecutive home games without a loss in all competitions, their streak of 35 games surpassing the mark set by Real Salt Lake from 2009-11.
- The Dynamo have not lost a competitive home game since June 18, 2011, and also tied Real Salt Lake’s mark of 29 consecutive regular season home games without defeat, set during the same streak from 2009-11.
- “It’s about consistency. If you look back at when we came here in 2006, our record at home has been pretty remarkable. To go unbeaten for this amount of time is also very impressive,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “People say ‘What is the secret?’ and I always say that we just have a good team. I think we have always had a good team, have always played well at home but if you don’t have a good team, you don’t have that record.”
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, in North American professional sports, the 1995-96 NBA Chicago Bulls hold the record with 44 undefeated games at home between March 30, 1995 and April 4, 1996.
- The Dynamo also have the third-longest unbeaten run in league games to open a new facility at 21 games, behind the NBA’s Washington Capitols (27, at Uline Arena) and the WNBA’s LA Sparks (22, Staples Center).
- For the ninth time in his MLS career, Brad Davis scored a goal and added an assist in the same game, netting the game-winning in the Dynamo’s victory vs. Chicago on Sunday after setting up the opening goal.
- Returning to action after missing the Portland match with a hamstring injury, Will Bruin scored his second goal of the season, and his second in as many games.
- “[Brad Davis] is going to put the ball in dangerous spots no matter where it is. He had the ball out wide and turned that guy inside-out, we made eye contact and it’s one of those things where I know he is going to put the ball on my head every time,” said Bruin.
- With Boniek García still sidelined with left Achilles tendonitis, Andrew Driver again filled the wide right position in midfield, providing the work along the flanks along with Davis on the opposite side.
- “[Kinnear] all week has made a point that they play fairly narrow and that we can our wide guys on the ball quite a lot,” Driver (above) said. “It’s something we utilized today to make the pitch as big as possible to open them up.” Said Kinnear: “Brad’s play on the first goal was excellent. Andrew started off the game very well, getting behind their left back and causing them problems. Even if you don’t get goals out of it, you are still softening up the defense a bit. We said before the game, if [Will Bruin and Giles Barnes] could hold the ball up and find our wide guys then we thought it would cause them problems.”
- The Dynamo are 4-0-0 at home this season, but have lost both of their road starts. “We know we need to get more points on the road this year than we did last year,” said Bobby Boswell. “In 2011 we didn’t win until our last two road games of the year. You obviously want to win, you want to get three points, but ties aren’t exactly losses. We’ve got to do a little bit better and we know that.”