Dynamo prepare for Friday-night showdown with Red Bulls

Houston and New York battle for first place in the Eastern Conference

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With each passing week as the close of the MLS regular season draws nearer, every game becomes more important. The Dynamo take on the New York Red Bulls on Friday (7 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Network) in a battle between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.

Houston is perhaps the hottest team in MLS at the moment, riding a four-game winning streak and a seven-game unbeaten run. New York, with the recent signing of former Everton midfielder Tim Cahill, has been hailed by some as the most talented roster on paper the league has ever seen.

Playoff atmosphere

One point is all that separates Houston from first-place New York, who currently sit on 38 points in the conference standings. Friday’s match is the first of consecutive games between the two squads in a home-and-away series, replicating a potential playoff matchup for the two teams. The Red Bulls won the earlier matchup against Houston, 1-0 on May 9 at Red Bull Arena.

Home cooking

The Dynamo have made the most of their new downtown stadium, as they are one of two teams in MLS to still be undefeated at home this year. The other team, with an identical 7-0-3 record, is the New York Red Bulls. The Dynamo’s home unbeaten streak stretches back to their Robertson Stadium days, and is now at 18 regular season matches, the longest current streak in the league.

Players to watch

  1. Thierry Henry – The Frenchman has not disappointed in his time in MLS, and even with missing some time to injury this season he still ranks fourth in goals with 11 and has added six assists. Henry may not have the pace that he possessed in his youth, but he is still able to get separation from defenders and create goals out of thin air.
  2. Kenny Cooper – The big striker has been outstanding with his new club, scoring 13 goals on the year. He has been finding good spaces all year long and putting away his chances clinically. The Dynamo backline can’t lose their mark on this guy.
  3. Tim Cahill – New York’s newest man will be looking to make an immediate impact. He played 45 minutes in the Red Bull’s friendly against Tottenham Hotspur and drew a penalty to put his squad up 1-0. The Australian midfielder is a possibility to start on Friday night, but will almost certainly get some sort of minutes for the first time in MLS.

Game information

Game time is set for 7 p.m. CT. For those unable to make it to BBVA Compass Stadium, the game will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network, and locally on the radio on La Ranchera 850 AM (Spanish) and SportsTalk 790 AM (English).