Head To Head: Red Bulls vs. Dynamo

NEW YORK RED BULLS vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
Oct. 4, 2014 (WEEK 30, MLS Game #286)
6 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

A huge match for a pair of teams aiming to stay in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff chase is ahead on Saturday evening when the New York Red Bulls take on the Houston Dynamo at Red Bull Arena before an NBC Sports Network audience. The Red Bulls return home still clinging to fifth place and the final playoff position in the East, following their 4-0 defeat at the LA Galaxy last weekend. The Dynamo remained alive in the playoff hunt, a further five points back of the Red Bulls, their undefeated streak at five games following a 2-0 home win vs. the Chicago Fire.

REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. AR1 (bench): Peter Manikowski; AR2 (opposite): Kermit Quisenberry; 4th: Silviu Petrescu
MLS Career: 171 games; FC/gm: 23.4; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 33; pens: 50

SUSPENDED: NY: Jamison Olave (caution accumulation; through Oct. 5)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Armando, Tim Cahill … HOU: Ricardo Clark, Kofi Sarkodie
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Thierry Henry, Luis Robles, Ibrahim Sekagya … HOU: Will Bruin, Boniek Garcia, David Horst
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (20 meetings): Red Bulls 9 wins, 32 goals … Dynamo 3 wins, 19 goals … Ties 8
AT NEW YORK (10 meetings): Red Bulls 7 wins, 18 goals … Dynamo 0 wins, 4 goals … Ties 3

2014 (MLS)
4/23: NY 4, HOU 0 (Wright-Phillips 12, 24, 86; Henry 65)
7/4: HOU 2, NY 2 (Barnes 1; Davis 82 – Wright-Phillips 13, 72)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. A Giles Barnes goal in the first minute and a late Brad Davis penalty kick canceled out a pair of goals from New York’s Bradley Wright-Phillips to leave the teams in a 2-2 draw July 4 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Wright-Phillips netted a hat trick to lead the Red Bulls to a 4-0 win April 23 at Red Bull Arena.
  • The Red Bulls have not lost in the last six league contests between the teams, outscoring the Dynamo 17-3. The Red Bulls are 7-0-3 all-time at home vs. Houston.
  • The Dynamo did win the Eastern Conference Semifinal Series between the clubs last year, winning 2-1 at Red Bull Arena in the second leg, after the teams played to a 2-2 draw in Houston. It is the Dynamo’s only win ever in Harrison in all competitions.
  • Coaches record: Mike Petke vs. HOU: P5 W4 L0 D1 … Dominic Kinnear vs. NY: P25 W6 L10 D9

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • The Dynamo put an end to their scoreless streak early. Ricardo Clark’s diagonal ball found Kofi Sarkodie at the end line, and he put a pinpoint cross in the box for Giles Barnes to head home from the top of the six just 40 seconds into the match, the quickest goal in club history.
  • But the Red Bulls pulled even when Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his first goal of the night in the 13th minute, using his speed to latch on to a perfect 60-yard ball from Eric Alexander and hitting it low from the left side of the area to beat Tally Hall.
  • Wright-Phillips scored his and New York's second in the 72nd minute when Ambroise Oyongo put a cross in the box where Wright-Phillips outjumped three Dynamo defenders to head home to give him 14 goals for the season.
  • Yet the Dynamo had an answer in the 82nd minute. Red Bulls fullback Chris Duvall mistimed an attempted clearance in the box and was whistled for a handball by referee Ismail Elfath. Brad Davis stepped up to the spot and finished to his left to leave the teams level.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-3-1-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, A.J. Cochran, Eric Brunner, Warren Creavalle (Brian Ownby 79) - Andrew Driver (Alexander Lopez 79), Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis - Boniek Garcia - Giles Barnes (Omar Cummings 74), Will Bruin.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Chris Duvall, Jamison Olave (Armando 90), Matt Miazga, Ambroise Oyongo - Lloyd Sam, Ibrahim Sekagya, Tim Cahill, Eric Alexander - Bradley Wright-Phillips (Jonny Steele 80), Thierry Henry.

NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls saw their road winless streak extended, falling 4-0 to the LA Galaxy on Sunday evening at StubHub Center. The Red Bulls are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 41 points from 30 matches on the season.

LAST MATCH

  • The Galaxy took the lead in the first half on a special goal. Robbie Keane collected the ball from Landon Donovan's feed in the area, cut right to find space, then chipped the ball gently over goalkeeper Luis Robles and just inside the far-post netting.
  • Donovan doubled the Galaxy's advantage just five minutes into the second half after picking the pocket of Red Bulls defender Chris Duvall then slotting past Robles from the left side of the area.
  • Gyasi Zardes put the game away in the 69th minute, finishing off a 16-pass sequence by playing a one-two with Donovan and then finding the back post against a sprawling Robles.
  • Keane added the fourth 13 minutes later, running onto a Donovan chip, mishitting it past Robles, then recovering and making a quick move past a defender before pushing it into the open net from close range.
  • Red Bulls boss Mike Petke made two changes to the team that strolled to a 4-1 win against Seattle Sounders FC at Red Bull Arena. Tim Cahill and Peguy Luyindula came into the team in place of Lloyd Sam and Ambroise Oyongo.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-2-3-1): Luis Robles - Chris Duvall (Richard Eckersley 60), Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya, Roy Miller - Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill - Eric Alexander (Ruben Bover 70), Peguy Luyindula, Thierry Henry - Bradley Wright-Phillips (Marius Obekop 81).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Red Bulls had their road winless streak extended to seven games with the defeat at LA, their heaviest defeat of the season. It was the third time this season they had allowed four or more goals in a game.
  • “I don’t think I can use the word ‘pleased’ after the 4-0 loss,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. “I thought that it was better. I thought there were moments where we were better tonight. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t a 4-0 game, However, the scoreboard said it was. You have to go by that.”
  • The Red Bulls return home with an eight-game undefeated streak alive in Harrison.
  • “Every game has been a playoff game. We did well the previous four games, and this one, we have to put it behind us,” said Petke. “ … That’s all we could do. It’s all about the three games specifically at home and we end [with] the last game on the road. That’s it.”
  • After one-match absences, Tim Cahill and Peguy Luyindula returned to the Red Bulls lineup. Cahill played a deeper-lying role in central midfield with Luyindula in an underneath role behind Bradley Wright-Phillips.
  • [The plan] was to be organized and look to sprint on some counters. I thought in the first half, it worked to an extent. We had almost three breakaways on goal. Another one or two half-chances, and we didn’t put any away,” said Petke. “They capitalized on our mistake, which was the theme that I thought we got rid of long ago, but it definitely haunted us. And on the quality side, if we don’t finish our chances, and give them opportunities, they are going to finish it.”
  • Richard Eckersley made his first league appearance since March 30, coming on as a substitute for the final half-hour at right back.
  • The Red Bulls were without both Lloyd Sam and Ambroise Oyongo after they suffered hamstring injuries in the CONCACAF Champions League match vs. CD F.A.S. of El Salvador.
  • “Lloyd is looking good, and Lloyd is expected, knock on some wood, to be back for this weekend. His was a minor thing that we didn’t feel too comfortable taking a chance with,” Petke said. “ ... Oyongo’s situation is a bit worse. He’s got what looks to be a decent hamstring injury. His [availability] wasn’t even a question for last game. ... You never know. He’s young and he could have a heck of a recovery in the next couple days, but I’m planning on not having him again.”

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo stretched their undefeated run to five matches, defeating the Chicago Fire 2-0 on Sunday afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 36 points from 29 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Dynamo hit for the opener just after the quarter-hour. From the left side of the field, midfielder Ricardo Clark got the best of Fire veteran Logan Pause before firing a cross toward the back post. Omar Cummings split a pair of defenders to come sliding in for a simple finish.
  • The Dynamo hit for the second on a perfectly played team goal in the 67th minute. Defender Kofi Sarkodie hit a cross from the right side to midfielder Brad Davis, who headed the ball back to a wide-open Boniek Garcia at the penalty spot, and he thumped home a picture-perfect volley with his left foot.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that played to a scoreless draw with Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Boniek Garcia came back into the midfield in place of Andrew Driver.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tyler Deric - Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst, A.J. Cochran, DaMarcus Beasley - Boniek Garcia, Luis Garrido, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Andrew Driver 85) - Giles Barnes, Omar Cummings (Brian Ownby 79).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo extended their season-long undefeated streak to five matches with a second consecutive shutout victory. They have now not allowed a goal in 216 minutes, their longest shutout streak this season.
  • “I don’t think we had as many chances against us this week as we did last week so I thought defensively we were pretty good,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “We never really gave up too many second opportunities. I thought David [Horst] and A.J. [Cochran] had a good game.”
  • Said Brad Davis: “It’s also a kind of attitude throughout the whole entire team. I think now everybody’s been doing that extra little bit of dirty work to get back and help out, be compact and do not necessarily the things that are fun but the things that help the team. It’s been a change in mentality throughout the group. I feel like we’re a tough team to beat when we have that kind of die-hard attitude.
  • Boniek Garcia scored his second goal of the season, his first since netting the Dynamo’s third goal of the year, in their 4-0 season-opening win vs. New England on March 8.
  • “It kind of plays into the way that we like to play in the first place. We got the ball wide in some good spots, got some good service into the backs. Kofi [Sarkodie]’s done a great job this year about getting forward at the right times and putting some good balls into the box,” said Davis. “On the second goal that we scored there, that’s happened quite a few times this year. We’ve gotten a good ball and my job is be on the back side making sure if the ball goes long or whatever, to be there to kind of clean up and keep the play alive. That’s the way it worked out this time.”
  • Davis collected an assist on the second Houston goal, his fifth assist in the last seven games. He now has 10 assists for the season, the sixth time in his 13 MLS seasons he’s had 10 or more assists.
  • “We have good wide players and it’s kind of funny that our two wide players were in the box at the same time and combined for the goal,” said Kinnear. “I thought we came out with the correct attitude and put them under pressure, and it was good to see us get rewarded with a goal.”
  • Omar Cummings also scored his first goal since the season opener, when he capped the victory that day with the fourth goal. Cummings was making his fourth consecutive start; he has a goal and two assists in that span.
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