Houston Dynamo vs. DC United | MLS Match Preview
HOUSTON DYNAMO vs D.C. UNITED
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM, Houston, Texas
Oct. 12, 2014 (WEEK 31, MLS Game #303) 2 p.m. CT (CSN-Hou)
The Houston Dynamo will be fighting for their playoff lives when they play host to D.C. United on Sunday afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo return home sitting four points out of fifth place in the Eastern Conference and the final playoff position, following their 1-0 win at Toronto FC at midweek. United last week clinched their place in the MLS Cup Playoffs with their scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City at RFK Stadium, and are looking to wrap up the top seed in the division.
REFEREE: Ismail Elfath. AR1 (bench): Adam Garner; AR2 (opposite): Chris Strickland; 4th: Kevin Terry Jr.
MLS Career: 38 games; FC/gm: 25.4; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 11; pens: 11
SUSPENDED: HOU: A.J. Cochran (through Oct. 12)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: HOU: Ricardo Clark, Boniek Garcia … DC: Davy Arnaud, Fabian Espindola
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Will Bruin, Giles Barnes, David Horst, Kofi Sarkodie …DC: Lewis Neal, Chris Korb, Nick DeLeon
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: HOU: Boniek García, Luis Garrido (Honduras, vs. Mexico, Oct. 9; vs. USA, Oct. 14); Jermaine Taylor (Jamaica, vs. Japan, Oct. 10) … DC: Bill Hamid (USA, vs. Ecuador, Oct. 10)
ALL-TIME (20 meetings): Dynamo 13 wins, 36 goals … United 5 wins, 18 goals … Ties 2
AT HOUSTON (10 meetings): Dynamo 9 wins, 20 goals … United 0 wins, 4 goals …Ties 1
5/21: DC 2, HOU 0 (Rolfe 29; Espindola 64)
8/3: HOU 1, DC 0 (Bruin 91+)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Will Bruin scored the game’s lone goal in second-half stoppage time to hand the Dynamo the victory Aug. 3 at BBVA Compass Stadium; Chris Rolfe and Fabian Espíndola scored on either side of halftime to pace United to a 2-0 victory May 21 at RFK Stadium.
- The Dynamo have never lost to D.C. United in Houston, winning 10 of 11 meetings there all-time in league and cup play (with one draw).
- The United victory in the first meeting snapped a five-game Dynamo winning streak in the series in league play.
- Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. DC: P26 W14 L7 D5 … Ben Olsen vs. HOU: P11 W2 L8 D1
LAST MEETING (MLS)
- The game's only goal came after the regulation 90 minutes were complete. After the ball came off a United defender in the area with goalkeeper Bill Hamid out of the play, substitute forward Omar Cummings got to the ball first and set up Will Bruin for an easy tap-in and the game-winner.
- Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall was credited with two saves in recording the shutout.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, David Horst, DaMarcus Beasley - Boniek Garcia, Luis Garrido (Brian Ownby 76), Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Andrew Driver 88) - Will Bruin, Giles Barnes (Omar Cummings 88).
- D.C. UNITED (4-4-1-1): Bill Hamid - Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Taylor Kemp - Lewis Neal (Michael Seaton 75), Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Chris Rolfe - Luis Silva (Collin Martin 60) - Eddie Johnson.
The Houston Dynamo completed their two-game road swing with a needed result, defeating Toronto FC 1-0 on Wednesday evening at BMO Field. The Dynamo are in a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 39 points from 31 games.
- The game's lone goal came in the 35th minute. Kofi Sarkodie picked out Giles Barnes with a long ball on the right side, and after Barnes escaped the challenge of defender Nick Hagglund and sent a low shot through TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik’s legs from a tight angle on the right side of the penalty area.
- The home side had a glorious opportunity to level terms 10 minutes into the second half, when TFC striker Luke Moore was tugged down in the box by Dynamo center back A.J. Cochran. Referee Armando Villarreal whistled for a penalty kick and showed a red card to Cochran. Jermain Defoe took the resulting spot kick, but Dynamo 'keeper Tyler Deric dove to his right to stop the attempt.
- Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Servando Carrasco and Andrew Driver came into the midfield in place of Boniek Garcia and Luis Garrido.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tyler Deric - Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst, A.J. Cochran (ejected 55), DaMarcus Beasley - Brad Davis (Brian Ownby 83), Ricardo Clark, Servando Carrasco, Andrew Driver - Giles Barnes (Jason Johnson 97+), Omar Cummings (Eric Brunner 58).
- The Dynamo took points from a third road game out of the last four, with two wins and a draw in that time since Aug. 29.
- “I think obviously we don’t win the game tonight the season is going to be dwindling down to possibly just playing games out and hoping,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “But now it gives us a good chance, we have jumped Philadelphia and pulled right up next to Toronto here. So we are still within a good chance of making this and that’s all we ask ourselves.”
- The Dynamo also recorded their third defensive shutout in the last four matches, all with Tyler Deric in goal, who has started the last six matches following the injury to Tally Hall.
- “I don’t know if he’s going to be that good every game he plays, but he has the potential to be a very good goalkeeper, and I think he’s fulfilling that right now,” Kinnear said of Deric. “He’s been good. I wouldn’t say he’s been a secret, but I want people to know about him, because Tally’s been so good for us and Tyler just hasn’t had the chances to play.”
- Deric saved his first penalty kick in MLS, after conceding the first one he faced back on June 6 vs. Sporting KC (Dom Dwyer). The Dynamo have conceded 10 penalty kicks, tied for most in MLS this season, along with New York, Portland, Real Salt Lake and San Jose.
- “Tyler’s a monster,” said forward Giles Barnes. “It’s unfortunate the way he’s got his chance, but he’s like that every day in training. I don’t really expect anything less of him. He’s incredible; he’s a great ‘keeper.” Added center back David Horst: “We all, everybody, had to step up our game, and every single guy did it on the field. Most of the credit should go to Tyler Deric. He basically stood on his head for most of the game.”
- Said Deric: “We have a system with our goalie coach here. We do a lot of scouting to make sure we can see what players do on their approach to the ball. I got great advice on if a PK happens this is what you should do and fortunately I got a hand to it.”
- Giles Barnes scored his first goal in four matches, since Sept. 13. Barnes now has nine goals on the season, matching his total from a year ago.
- “It will keep us in the playoff race. I thought the team was fantastic. A massive three points on the road. It was a great team performance with a man down as well,” said Barnes.
- Kofi Sarkodie was credited with his fourth assist, matching his single-season career-high he set a year ago. Sarkodie has assisted on each of the Dynamo’s last two goals.
- Servando Carrasco returned to the lineup for the first time since June 6, coming into the center of midfield with Luis Garrido and Boniek Garcia both away on international duty with Honduras.
D.C. United recorded their second consecutive shutout, reaching a scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City on Friday evening at RFK Stadium. United are still in first place in the Eastern Conference with 52 points from 31 games.
- Sporting goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum made seven saves in keeping the clean sheet.
- United goalkeeper Bill Hamid was called upon to make just three saves, but perhaps made the best stop on the night, snatching C.J. Sapong's powerful header from a Dom Dwyer cross.
- United head coach Ben Olsen made one change to the team that defeated Philadelphia Union 1-0 at RFK Stadium. Chris Pontius came into the side for the suspended Perry Kitchen.
- D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Bill Hamid - Chris Korb, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Taylor Kemp - Sean Franklin, Nick DeLeon, Davy Arnaud, Chris Pontius (Lewis Neal 64) - Luis Silva (Eddie Johnson 72), Fabian Espindola.
- United officially claimed their berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs with the result, just the second time in the last seven seasons they’ve made it to the postseason.
- While United saw their five-game home winning streak come to an end, it did extend their undefeated streak at home to six league matches and eight games in all competitions (they had won seven in a row including CONCACAF Champions League contests).
- “Take RFK out of it - you know it’s an old, beat up building, and I’ll be happy when it blows up – but there’s not a better show in town. When our fans show up and put on a performance like that, there’s nowhere else I want to play,” said United head coach Ben Olsen. “It’s a great atmosphere, and I’m happy to reward them with getting into the playoffs. It means a lot to these guys and for those of us who have been around a while.”
- It was a second consecutive shutout for United, and their fifth in the last eight games, dating back to Aug. 23. They have not allowed a goal in 192 minutes of league play.
- “We had every expectation to make the postseason,” United defender Bobby Boswell said. "That’s why we’re not in here popping champagne bottles and kicking doors down. We expected this to happen. We’ll enjoy it, but this is the group – we got guys here that are mad that we didn’t win the game, honestly.”
- United also recorded their third shutout this season against Sporting Kansas City. They have now not allowed goal to Sporting in 352 minutes.
- “It’s a tough team to keep a clean sheet against. I thought the back four had a spectacular game,” said Olsen. “[Steven] Birnbaum is an absolute stud. I cannot believe the way he performs weeks in, week out at his age. Bobby [Boswell] led the back well when we were under the gun.”
- After recording 16 points a season ago, United now have 52 points to lead the Eastern Conference. A victory against the Dynamo and United will match the 2000 New York Red Bulls for the greatest one-season turnaround in MLS history (15 points to 54).
- “I did not think it would go this smoothly. We looked at the board in the offseason with the team that we had, we were pinching ourselves a little bit. We were excited about this group; we literally had potential to be a playoff team,” said Olsen. “I maybe underestimated the grittiness and character the group would have, the way they get each other’s back, but overall I am very excited about the group.”
- Chris Pontius made his first start of the 2014 league season, playing 64 minutes in a wide midfield role. He had made three consecutive appearances off the substitutes’ bench in MLS play; he started the last CONCACAF Champions League match vs. Tauro FC of Panamá.
- “I feel good. The pace of this game was a little bit faster than the games I’ve been thrown into before and it took me a little bit to get up to it, but you know once I was there I felt good,” Pontius said. “You know that’s how games are going to be from here on out, you got to prepare for that and be ready for the next game.”
- With Perry Kitchen suspended, Nick DeLeon moved inside into a central midfield partnership with Davy Arnaud.
- “There wasn’t a lot of passing going on. When you throw two new guys in the lineup, there are going to be some times when the rhythm is off and some of the patterns are not that comfortable,” said Olsen. “That’s part of the next couple games, getting Pontius his legs back, finding out who our starting 11 is when we hit the postseason. The one thing you get in there with Nick DeLeon is athleticism. I thought at times he picked up 50/50 balls and helped us drive out of the center. When the game opens up, he’s a dangerous player to have in the middle.”