The Houston Dynamo will try to advance to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League for the second consecutive year and the third time in the last six years on Thursday night when they travel to Panama to face second-place Árabe Unido in the final Group 1 match. Houston (2-0-1, 7 pts) can advance to the quarterfinals with a win or a tie, while Árabe Unido (2-1-0, 6 pts) need a win to advance.
TV: FOX Soccer Plus / Univision Deportes
Dynamo: Tyler Deric; Michael Chabala, Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Eric Brunner; Andrew Driver, Servando Carrasco, Alexander Lopez; Omar Cummings, Jason Johnson, Cam Weaver
Subs: Tally Hall, Calen Carr, Warren Creavalle, Will Bruin, Anthony Arena, Giles Barnes, Corey Ashe
Árabe Unido: Miguel Lloyd; Rigoberto Nino, Harold Cummings, Jose Gonzalez, Luis Fraiz; Humberto Ward, Orlando Rodriguez, Paul Roderick, Abdiel Macea; Angel Patrick, Fidel Caesar
Subs: Alexander Andreve, Felix Gondola, Enrico Small, Abdiel Arroyo, Reynaldo Anderson, Alejandro Velez, Joseph Cox
We've been feeding you updated MLS standings and scenarios weekly with Standings Watch, but today we turn our attention to CONCACAF Champions League before the Dynamo's final group match on Thursday vs. Árabe Unido (7 p.m. CT; FOX Soccer Plus).
While the Dynamo's MLS situation is a little messy, the CCL scenario is pretty clean: get a result and you're through to the knockout stages. A win or a tie in Panama sends Houston past the group stage for the second consecutive year.
The Dynamo (7 pts) are currently ahead of Árabe Unido (6 pts) and W Connection (1 pt) in Group 1. W Connection have played all of their matches and have been eliminated from contention.
A win puts the Dynamo at 10 points and clearly ahead of Árabe Unido. A draw would keep El Expreso Azul a point behind Houston.
Getting through the group stage of the regional tournament is commendable, but the Dynamo are keen to improve upon last year's result when they pulled out a 1-0 home win over Mexican side Santos Laguna before falling out of the tournament on the return leg.
The eight group winners advance to the knockout rounds, and are seeded 1-8 according to their group stage performances, with the No. 1 seed paired against No. 8, No. 2 with No. 7, etc. These are the ranking tiebreakers:
- Goal differential
- Goals scored
- Away goals scored
- Away wins
- Drawing of lots
Last year, the Dynamo were the No. 7 seed. Here's how this year's rankings look right now, with games to be played Thursday night:
|2.||Cruz Azul (MEX)||12||+8||none|
|4.||LA Galaxy (USA)||9||+6||10/24 at Isidro Metapán|
|6.||Kansas City (USA)||8||+4||none|
|7.||Houston (USA)||7||+3||10/24 at Árabe Unido|
|8.||San Jose (USA)||6||+2||none|
Group 1 is the only group that has not been decided.
A Dynamo win would push them to at least the fifth seed. The Dynamo could catch the Galaxy and go into fourth if LA loses to Isidro Metapán tonight, or if the Galaxy tie and the Dynamo make up the tiebreakers. Catching Tijuana would require defeating Árabe by at least a five goal margin. A tie gets the Dynamo to the knockout stage, but keeps them in seventh.
The Dynamo headed to Panama for their final CONCACAF Champions League group match against Árabe Unido on Thursday (7 p.m. CT; FOX Soccer Plus). Currently at the top of the group, Houston just needs a draw from the match to secure their passage to the knockout stages of the tournament. Check out the travel roster for the trip, and let us know what you think the starting XI will be on Thursday night.
Goalkeepers: Tyler Deric, Tally Hall
Defenders: Anthony Arena, Corey Ashe, Bobby Boswell, Eric Brunner, Mike Chabala, Kofi Sarkodie
Midfielders: Servando Carrasco, Ricardo Clark, Warren Creavalle, Andrew Driver, Alexander López
Forwards: Giles Barnes, Will Bruin, Calen Carr, Omar Cummings, Jason Johnson, Cam Weaver
Not suprisingly, Brad Davis didn't make the trip a week after ending Panama's World Cup hopes with two assists. It's doubtful he would receive a warm reception, and we'd rather not find out what would happen if the lights went out.