Match Preview: Dynamo vs. SJ Earthquakes

Forever-linked foes look to rebound from tough losses

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Photo Credit: 
Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

The Basics

Houston
Dynamo
(6-11-5, 23 points, seventh in Western Conference) vs. San Jose Earthquakes
(8-7-5, 29 points, sixth in Eastern Conference)
Sunday, September 5, 7:30 p.m. CT
Robertson Stadium, Houston, TX 

All-time record: Series tied 2-2-1.

Broadcast Info

7:15 p.m. KHOU 11.2 (English)
7:00 p.m. TV Informa (Spanish)
6:45 p.m. SportsTalk 790 (English)
7:00 p.m. La Ranchera 850 (Spanish)

Game Guide - downloadable PDF

Ticket Info

Get the best ticket deals at HoustonDynamo.com/tickets.

Intro

The Old Quakes
and the New Quakes square off on Sunday evening at Robertson Stadium in what has developed into an intriguing
rivalry. The rivalry started
with a somewhat hostile welcome on the initial return to the Bay Area
for forward Brian Ching and his Dynamo teammates two years ago, and both teams have battled to an even all-time record since.

Houston’s roster includes eight former Quakes, and that’s before you
count Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear, assistant coach Wade Barrett,
and goalkeeper coach Tim Hanley, the last of whom played with the NASL Earthquakes.

Houston Dynamo

The Dynamo enter the match fresh off their most disappointing
performance of the year, the wrong end of a 3-0 rout in Colorado last weekend. However,
a victory against the team currently holding the final playoff spot
would elevate Houston’s playoff chances for at least one more week. Still, the pressure will be on Houston, as only a Dynamo victory
will do for a team slowly running out of chances to play itself back into the playoff picture.

Houston will have to make due without midfielder Lovel Palmer,
who is away with the Jamaican national team, and possibly without
Ching, due to injury. As a result, Kinnear has some tough decisions to
make regarding how best to use Geoff Cameron.
The defender has looked impressive in the back since his return from
injury but also played well in midfield after Palmer’s ejection last
week.

San Jose Earthquakes

The Quakes fell to the New York Red Bulls 2-0 last weekend and are looking to rebound from that poor performance. They are buoyed by the return of defender Jason Hernandez from suspension but lose the team’s leader in assists, Bobby Convey, to a suspension due to yellow-card accumulation. The midfielder had been filling in at left back for the Quakes.

As a result, coach Frank Yallop’s defense will continue to play
musical chairs in the back, utilizing its fourth different starting
back line in the team’s last five games.

Forward Ryan Johnson, like Houston’s Palmer, will also be on international duty with Jamaica. But Houston nemesis and native Arturo Alvarez
will be available this weekend; he will not report to the El Salvador
national team until next week. Newly acquired Designated Player Geovanni has yet to
start for the Quakes, but has been slowly building up fitness and
getting additional minutes.

Heroes & Villains

Chris Wondolowski vs. Cam Weaver:
Whenever you trade two players, they will always be compared to each
other, especially if they both play the same position. While Weaver had
a solid 2009 for Houston, a preseason injury has limited his
effectiveness in 2010. However, Ching’s injury against the Rapids makes
it very possible that Weaver will see extended minutes for the second
week in a row.

Wondolowski, who has always been a fan favorite in Houston, has made
the most of his opportunities in San Jose, scoring eight goals this
year, matching his career total in a Dynamo uniform in all competitions.

Stat that makes you go “Hmm...”

Houston has conceded 36 goals this year, which already surpasses
its end-of-season totals for each of the last three years, when the Dynamo led or tied for the lead in fewest goals against.