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.
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
Get the best ticket deals at HoustonDynamo.com/tickets.
The Old Brian Ching and his Dynamo teammates two years ago, and both teams have battled to an even all-time record since.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
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.
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.