MatchDay: Red Bulls at Houston Dynamo (Sunday, 4:00 PM, MSG)

Get up to speed on match notes and probable starters ahead of Sunday's match against Houston

THE MATCH

Red Bulls at Dynamo
Sunday, October 20
4:00 PM Eastern
Watch on MSG, starting at 3:30 PM
Listen on 1050 AM (ESPN Deportes)

MATCH NOTES

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ABOUT THE MATCH

Following a week off from action, the MLS Cup Playoffs-bound New York Red Bulls remained in first place in both the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings with two regular season matches to go. The Red Bulls will look to distance itself from its rivals when they head to BBVA Compass Stadium to battle the Houston Dynamo on Sunday, October 20 at 4:00 PM ET in New York’s final road regular season match of 2013 (TV: MSG, Pre-Game Show starts at 3:30 PM; Radio: ESPN Deportes Radio Nueva York 1050 AM).

Prior to the bye week, the Red Bulls were the first team in MLS to clinch a playoff spot after a dramatic 2-2 tie with the New England Revolution on Saturday, Oct. 5 in front of a sold out crowd of 25,219 at Red Bull Arena. Tim Cahill’s 97th minute equalizer helped the hosts secure the point and its 10th postseason berth in 11 years. The Red Bulls are currently riding a six-match unbeaten run (4-0-2 record).

New York (15-9-8, 53 pts.) enters this week with a one-point lead over second place Sporting Kansas City (15-10-7, 52 pts.) and is in a first place tie with the Western Conference-pacesetting Portland Timbers (13-5-14,53 pts.) in the Supporters’ Shield race. New York does hold the first tiebreaker (number of wins) over Portland. If the Red Bulls tie or defeat the Dynamo, they will be assured of one of the top two seeds in the conference. If New York wins and Sporting Kansas City loses at D.C. United on Friday night, the Red Bulls would win the Eastern Conference regular season title for the third time in club history (2000, 2010 were the other times). New York is assured of avoiding the Eastern Conference Knockout Round.

Just five points shy of the Red Bulls, Houston is in third place in the East and currently has 48 points off a 13-10-9 record. The Dynamo, which has qualified for the MLS Cup Final for each of the last two seasons, has a five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2) and most recently tied Sporting Kansas City, 0-0, last Wednesday night at home. Houston’s last loss came at the hands of New York, which stormed into BBVA Compass Stadium and rode three second half goals in a 4-1 win over the hosts, giving the Red Bulls their first-ever regular season win in Houston. Eric Alexander put the visitors ahead in the first half before Jason Johnson tied the match in the 18th minute. However, goals from Thierry Henry, Jonny Steele and Lloyd Sam in the second half help the Red Bulls earn the three points.

New York has gone 2-0-0 this year versus Houston, also defeating the Dynamo, 2-0, at Red Bull Arena on June 30. The Red Bulls are 7-3-7 all time against the Dynamo and 1-3-4 on the road.

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