Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union

Dynamo take on Eastern Conference opponents Philadelphia with an eye on the playoff race

THE BASICS
Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union
Friday, August 15, 8:00 p.m. CT
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas

BROADCAST INFORMATION
NBC Sports Network - 8:00 p.m. CHANNEL LISTINGS
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
A pair of teams in the thick of the race for playoff places in the Eastern Conference meet when the Houston Dynamo take on Philadelphia Union at BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday night before an NBC Sports Network audience. The teams are separated by five points in the division, with Union holding a tie for fifth place and the final playoff position, four spots ahead of the Dynamo. Union are undefeated in their last four games after a 2-1 home win against Montréal last weekend, and reached the US Open Cup Final at midweek. The Dynamo are back home after a 2-0 loss at Seattle.

REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. AR1 (bench): Frank Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Kermit Quisenberry; 4th: Ted Unkel
MLS Career: 178 games; FC/gm: 25.2; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 62; pens: 66

INJURY REPORT, PRESENTED BY HOUSTON METHODIST (as of Wednesday, August 13)

HOUSTON DYNAMO -- OUT: Tony Cascio – Right knee surgery; Mark Sherrod – Left knee ACL tear;

PHILADELPHIA UNION -- QUESTIONABLE: Cristian Maidana – left hamsring strain

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (10 meetings): Dynamo 4 wins, 12 goals … Union 3 wins, 11 goals … Ties 3
  • AT HOUSTON (5 meetings): Dynamo 3 wins, 8 goals … Union 2 wins, 6 goals … Ties 0
  • FUTURE MATCH: 9/20: Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo, 7 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. They played to a scoreless draw April 19 at PPL Park.
  • The draw in the first meeting ended a three-game Dynamo winning streak in the series. The Dynamo have won the last three meetings at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • Union were unbeaten vs. the Dynamo in their first four meetings, until Houston won both legs of an Eastern Conference Semifinal Series between the clubs in 2011.
  • Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. PHI: P9 W4 L3 D3 … Jim Curtin vs. HOU: first game

HOUSTON DYNAMO

The Houston Dynamo weren’t able to build on their first win in more than two months, falling 2-0 to Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday evening at CenturyLink Field. The Dynamo are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 22 points from 22 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Dynamo had a golden opportunity to grab an early lead in the 26th minute after a shot from Boniek Garcia caught defender Djimi Traore on the arm inside the Sounders FC area, and referee Chris Penso awarded a penalty kick. But goalkeeper Stefan Frei made a huge diving save, denying a stutter-step attempt by the Dynamo's Brad Davis to keep the game scoreless.
  • The game's goals came in a six-minute span in the second half. Sounders FC finally broke through in the 69th minute after Marco Pappa was able to give himself room just outside the Houston penalty area before hitting a shot that deflected off Houston defender David Horst, sending ‘keeper Tally Hall in the wrong direction as the ball skipped into the net.
  • Seattle extended the lead in the 75th minute after Ricardo Clark was called for a foul for pulling down Obafemi Martins in the box, and referee Penso again pointed to the spot. Hall guessed correctly on Gonzalo Pineda’s attempt to blast his shot up the middle, but the ball deflected under his gloves and into the net.
  • Seattle was dealt a big blow in the 86th minute when Martins was shown a second yellow card, this time for a hard tackle from behind, and given his marching orders.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made no changes to the team that defeated D.C. United 1-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, David Horst (Andrew Driver 81), DaMarcus Beasley - Boniek Garcia, Luis Garrido, Ricardo Clark (Brian Ownby 78), Brad Davis - Giles Barnes, Will Bruin (Jason Johnson 46).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo lost a sixth consecutive game away from home, suffering their seventh loss overall in their last 10 matches.
  • “It's always difficult. I think every year is the same, trying to get [to the MLS Cup Playoffs],” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “It's hard, and once you get there, it's what you do. That little spell of games without a win has put us in a hole, so we have to start winning some games if we want to make the playoffs.”
  • The Dynamo were also shut out at the attacking end for the sixth time in that 10-game span. Their minus-19 goal differential equals the largest in MLS, along with the Montréal Impact.
  • “We have an opportunity with the penalty I missed in the first half, I had the opportunity to put my team up 1-0,” Brad Davis said. “We’re playing well, we’re getting good opportunities on the road and it’s just things like that. It’s not like we were played off the park by any means. It was a wide-open game; we were just unable to take our chances.”
  • The Dynamo missed a third penalty kick out of five taken this season, tied for the Chicago Fire for the most unsuccessful spot kicks in the league this season.
  • There was a forced injury change at the start of the second half with striker Will Bruin suffered an ankle injury and was replaced by Jason Johnson, who was making his first league appearance since June 6.
  • “Made a couple of mistakes and a little bit of luck goes their way and there you have it,” Kinnear said. “I thought it was a pretty even game, thought we looked real good in the first half, but they came out with a good push of energy in the second half. Thought we looked good and it takes a little deflection and the momentum swings their way.”
  • The unchanged team for the Dynamo made second consecutive MLS starts for DaMarcus Beasley, at left back, and Luis Garrido in a holding role.
  • “I thought they were good. I thought they both looked good,” said Kinnear. “I think they've been good the two games they've played for us. They've been good additions to the team.”