Who: Houston Dynamo vs. Chivas USA
What: SuperLiga 2010, Group A, Match 3
When: Sunday, July 18, 7 p.m. CT
Where: Robertson Stadium, Houston
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On the line
The two MLS teams in Group A square off in round two of group play in SuperLiga action on Sunday night at Robertson Stadium.
The Dynamo have had Chivas USA’s number as of late, posting an 8-1-3 record in the last 12 matches between the sides. However, the lone Goats victory comes in the last match between the two, as Houston fell 3-1 in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup at home on July 6.
In that match, Chivas USA played primarily starters, and Houston utilized a team comprised mainly of backups. The Goats’ Justin Braun scored twice on two major gaffes by the Dynamo defense, burying the first goal in just the fifth minute as Houston put itself behind the eight ball from the start.
Houston enters its second match in SuperLiga group play knowing that a second victory can practically clinch a semifinal berth.
In the opening game against Pachuca, Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear liberally utilized his roster against Pachuca, and Houston still won 2-1. The manager decided to rest starters like Pat Onstad and Bobby Boswell and utilized his four substitutions to keep regular starters like Brad Davis and Danny Cruz fresh. As a result, Kinnear has all of his options available against Chivas USA.
Since a victory Sunday would ease the pressure on Wednesday night’s final game and potentially allow Houston to rest some starters, expect the Dynamo to come out fully amped for three points. Of course, Houston will also be looking for some revenge against its Western Conference rivals.
“They came in here and beat us in the Open Cup,” noted Boswell. “We are obviously looking to give them some sweet revenge at home.”
“They knocked us out of the Open Cup; granted it wasn’t our first team, but whoever is on the field has to win,” said defender Eddie Robinson. “There are going to be a lot of minutes over this week. It is an opportunity for the guys that did play in that Open Cup game to get a little redemption.”
Chivas USA come off a disappointing 2-1 loss to Puebla in the opening round of SuperLiga. As a result, if the Goats fail to get a result against Houston, they will practically be eliminated before the final game of group play.
Over the past three weeks, Chivas USA have made moves to bolster their lineup after a poor start to the MLS season. They signed Mexican midfielder Rodolfo Espinoza -- who had a good night against Puebla -- and Venezuelan international Giancarlo Maldonado. The team also brought back Paulo Nagamura, who returns to MLS after a short stint in Mexico with Tigres UANL. As a result, head coach Martín Vásquez will continue to try to incorporate his three new acquisitions into his team.
The speed of Braun and Jesus Padilla caused the Dynamo fits in the Open Cup match. If Chivas USA want to continue to build on their previous successful outing against the Dynamo, then the speed of Padilla and Braun will be instrumental.