Dane Richards is a bit of a Dynamo killer. And he knows it.
Back in 2008, Richards dominated the second leg of the MLS Cup Playoffs series against Houston, scoring and assisting in addition to drawing a penalty in the Red Bulls’ 3-0 road win. The victory helped propel New York through the postseason and into the team’s only MLS Cup appearance to date.
Richards perhaps delights in playing Houston more than any other team, stemming back from that playoff series in 2008. Comments from Dynamo players bashing the winger filled the Houston media during the home-and-away series — “There was a lot of talking,” Richards remembers — and they clearly drew the attention of the Jamaican international at the time.
Richards says he’s moved beyond headlines and quotes to focus on the season at hand, but that doesn’t mean he won’t do everything he can to make another statement in Robertson Stadium on Saturday night. He has scored two goals and added one assist in eight regular-season games against Houston to go along with that one memorable day nearly three years ago.
“If I get the chance to quiet that crowd, I will,” Richards told MLSsoccer.com.
After a quiet start to last year, Richards caught fire in August and September, scoring all five of his league goals last year during that stretch. He credited patience in front of goal with his sudden scoring touch late last summer, and he emerged as a goal threat for both club and country.
Richards has scored just once this year, but he said his game isn’t as one-dimensional as some doubters would believe.
“Fans expect goals, but I supply the crosses, I make the runs,” Richards said. “I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and not change anything. I wouldn’t say I’m happy, but the offense has played well, done some good things. And our star is scoring … Thierry [Henry] is scoring lots of goals. That’s a good sign for all of us.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer