Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union

The Dynamo are looking to put a stop to a seven-game winless run

THE BASICS
Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union
Saturday, July 06, 8:00 p.m. CT
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX

BROADCAST INFORMATION
CSN Houston - 8:00 p.m. CHANNEL LISTINGS (7:30 p.m. pregame)
Yahoo! Sports Radio 1560 AM - 8:00 p.m. (7:30 p.m. pregame)
La Ranchera 850 AM - 8:00 p.m. (7:30 p.m. pregame)

PREVIEW

The Houston Dynamo and Philadelphia Union meet in a key clash in the Eastern Conference on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are looking to put a stop to a seven-game winless run, dropping a 2-0 decision to the New York Red Bulls, as they aim to maintain their spot in the playoff placings. Union are four points ahead of the Dynamo in the East, following their last-gasp 2-2 draw at Real Salt Lake at midweek.

REFEREES

Matthew Foerster. AR1 (bench): Chris Strickland; AR2 (opposite): Jonathan Johnson; 4th: Armando Villarreal MLS Career: 14 games; FC/gm: 24.0; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 1; pens: 5

INJURY REPORT, PRESENTED BY THE METHODIST HOSPITAL SYSTEM

HOUSTON DYNAMO -- OUT: Calen Carr – left knee; Anthony Arena – right ankle sprain;  Brad Davis – left hamstring strain QUESTIONABLE: Boniek Garcia – right hamstring strain

NEW YORK RED BULLS -- Questionable: D.Cruz – left hip contusion; M. Farfan – left ankle contusion; Kleberson – right quad strain; M. Lahoud – sports hernia surgery

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (7 meetings): Union 3 wins, 11 goals … Dynamo 2 wins, 10 goals … Ties 2
  • AT HOUSTON (4 meetings): Union 2 wins, 6 goals … Dynamo 2 wins, 7 goals … Ties 0 
  • RETURN MATCHES: 9/14: Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo, 6:30 p.m. CT (UniMas)
  • The teams met three times a season ago, with the home team winning on each occasion, including two Dynamo victories at BBVA Compass Stadium. They were the first two Dynamo home victories in the regular season series; Union came away with wins in visits to Robertson Stadium in both 2010 and 2011.
  • The Dynamo have never won at PPL Park, the teams reaching draws in their first two meetings in Chester before Union’s 3-1 win last Sept. 23.
  • The clubs met in the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Dynamo advancing 3-1 on aggregate after a 2-1 win at PPL Park, then a 1-0 home win.
  • Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear v PHI: P7 W2 L3 D2 … John Hackworth vs. HOU: P3 W1 L2 D0

HOUSTON DYNAMO

The Houston Dynamo saw their winless run stretched to seven games, dropping a 2-0 decision to the New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. The Dynamo are in a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 23 points from 16 matches.
 
LAST MATCH
  • The Red Bulls finally broke through at the hour mark. Eric Alexander hit a great ball in from the right flank that Fabian Espíndola raced onto with a well-timed run, before tucking his shot underneath Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall.
  • The home side put the game away with a second two minutes from time. Thierry Henry collected a pass in the middle of the field and laid it off for Jonny Steele on the left side of the penalty area, and he unleashed a venomous shot that soared into the far top corner.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that reached a scoreless draw with Toronto FC at BBVA Compass Stadium. Adam Moffat came into the team in place of Brad Davis.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Warren Creavalle (Omar Cummings 65), Adam Moffat (Alex Dixon 78), Ricardo Clark, Andrew Driver - Giles Barnes (Brian Ching 78), Will Bruin.

TEAM NEWS

  • The defeat extended the Houston winless streak to seven games in league play, matching the second-longest in club history. The Dynamo have gone 0-4-3 since a 4-0 win at D.C. United on May 8.
  • “We’re just not putting the ball in the back of the net, so we’re working on that and hopefully that happens for us on Saturday,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “We had a nice chat after the [New York] game. We had our chances still … the only thing you can do is prepare for the next week and hopefully the mood in the locker room the following week is much better.
  • The Dynamo have now gone a club-record 329 minutes without scoring a goal, following the loss at the New York Red Bulls. Including their U.S. Open Cup loss at FC Dallas, it’s 419 minutes without a goal in all competitions.
  • “I think we’re trying to do the same things over and over again,” goalkeeper Tally Hall said. “In New York I felt like we saw the same attack from us. I think that’s the relationships where we have to say ‘OK, this is what we’re doing and how can we be different?’ Just to give the defense a different look because you can’t just do the same things over and over when the other team’s prepared for it. As a team we look at it and say, ‘How can we be more dangerous?’ It’s all of us. It’s the team coming together and being more cutthroat in the way we try and win games.”
  • The Dynamo were missing midfielder Brad Davis to a left hamstring strain, after he returned to the Dynamo lineup for the first time in nearly a month in the Toronto FC match.
  • Boniek García was also out of the team for a fourth consecutive match, after he suffered a hamstring strain while on international duty with Honduras.
  • “I don’t like to talk about players that aren’t here because it shows disrespect to the ones that are here," Kinnear said, "so even though we’d like Brad to be here, it’s unfair to talk about him."
  • The Dynamo will be without striker Will Bruin, along with fullback Corey Ashe, both with the U.S. national team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Bruin has not scored since netting twice in the May 8 win vs. D.C. United.
  • “I don’t really know how to sum it up, it’s just a gut check, character check. Luckily it’s the end of June and not October, but we know how much we’ve been struggling,” Bruin said. “I think we’re too content just holding the ball and keeping possession. When you’re in the final third, you’ve got to be aggressive and have that killer instinct to score, and I think we’re lacking that right now. But once it comes back, I think it’s going to come along.