vs. Toronto FC
Saturday, July 9, 7:30 p.m. CT
Robertson Stadium, Houston, TX
All-time record: Toronto leads 3-2-4
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The Houston Dynamo return home to take on Toronto FC in a key Eastern Conference match for both clubs on Saturday evening at Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo are coming off back-to-back draws, last playing to a scoreless draw at the Colorado Rapids. Toronto FC are coming off a defeat that matched the heaviest in club history, a 5-0 loss at the New York Red Bulls at midweek.
REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Brian Poeschel; JAR (opposite): Steven Taylor; 4th: Ismail Elfath
Grajeda MLS Career: 46 games; FC/gm: 25.2; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 9; pens: 8
INJURY REPORT (as of Friday, July 8): HOUSTON DYNAMO – OUT: FW Calen Carr (concussion); DOUBTFUL: DF Eddie Robinson (L knee sprain);
QUESTIONABLE: FW Cam Weaver (R hip strain); PROBABLE: DF Jermaine Taylor (R ankle sprain) … TORONTO FC – OUT: MF Elbekay Bouchiba (R knee surgery recovery); DF Adrian Cann (R knee sprain); DF Dicoy Williams (R knee surgery recovery); FW Maicon Santos (R hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Julian de Guzman (L knee swelling); QUESTIONABLE: DF Nana Attakora (R quadriceps strain); MF Jacob Peterson (L hamstring strain); FW Alan Gordon (abdominal strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: HOU: Lovel Palmer … TOR: Richard Eckersley … SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Brad Davis … TOR: Danleigh Borman, Dan Gargan, Javier Martina, Tony Tchani, Mikael Yourassowsky
ALL-TIME (9 meetings): Dynamo 2 wins, 11 goals … Toronto FC 3 wins, 9 goals … Ties 4
AT HOUSTON (4 meetings): Dynamo 2 wins, 7 goals … Toronto FC 1 win, 3 goals … Ties 1
- The Dynamo have never won at BMO Field. Toronto FC had recorded a victory in first meeting on the shores of Lake Ontario, before the teams played to three consecutive 1-1 draws.
- Toronto FC won the first meeting ever between the clubs – the 1-0 win May 16, 2007 – then had not defeated the Dynamo again before the 2-1 win in Houston last September, going 0-2-4 in the six meetings in between.
- Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear v TOR: P9 W2 L3 D4 … Aron Winter vs. HOU: P1 W1 L0 D0
LAST MEETING (MLS):
5/7: TOR 2, HOU 1 (Plata 50 pen, Maicon Santos 81 – Palmer 87)
- Toronto FC took the lead early in the second half. After scooping up an errant clearance, Nick Soolsma cut into the box before being pulled down by Houston's Andre Hainault. Joao Plata put the resulting penalty straight and high, tucking it just below the crossbar to score his first MLS goal.
- Plata appeared to have won a second penalty in the 60th minute when he went down under a challenge from Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall. Though referee Jorge Gonzalez pointed to the spot, assistant referee Adam Wienckowski had raised the flag for offside.
- TFC still doubled the lead in the 81st minute. Plata this time played provider, laying the ball behind the Houston back line for Maicon Santos to run onto, and he ripped a low, hard shot past Hall.
- The Dynamo cut the lead in the 87th minute when Je-Vaughn Watson corraled a loose cross and laid it back for Lovel Palmer, who hammered a low drive past Stefan Frei from the top of the box.
- TORONTO FC (4-2-1-3): Stefan Frei - Richard Eckersley, Dicoy Williams, Adrian Cann, Mikael Yourassowsky - Julian de Guzman, Tony Tchani - Jacob Peterson (Matt Gold 76) - Nick Soolsma, Alen Stevanovic (Maicon Santos 75), Joao Plata (Dan Gargan 93+).
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Hunter Freeman (Corey Ashe 75), Eddie Robinson, Bobby Boswell (Colin Clark 75), Andre Hainault - Je-Vaughn Watson, Lovel Palmer, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis - Cam Weaver (Will Bruin 62). Koke.
The Houston Dynamo played to a second consecutive draw, this time a scoreless result with the Colorado Rapids on Sunday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Dynamo have 20 points from 18 games on the season, sitting in a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
- Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall was credited with six saves on the night, many of the spectacular variety. Matt Pickens was not called upon to make a save.
- The closest either team came to scoring was in the 10th minute when Colorado's Jamie Smith headed against the post after an inch-perfect cross from Brian Mullan.
- Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made no changes to the team that got a last-gasp goal for a 2-2 tie with D.C. United at RFK Stadium.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-3-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe - Je-Vaughn Watson - Danny Cruz (Colin Clark 67), Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis - Brian Ching (Lovel Palmer 78), Will Bruin (Jason Garey 61).
- The Dynamo have come away with a win just once in their last 11 games, since a 4-1 win against D.C. United on April 29 (the 2-1 victory against Chivas USA three weeks ago). For nine consecutive games they’ve alternated being shut out, then scoring two goals.
- "We didn’t win, and we didn’t lose, that’s a positive thing, because we get to go back home. It’s a point, it’s a step in the right direction,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “I think there were some positive things to take out of the game. Is it successful? Somewhat."
- The Dynamo recorded their first shutout since May 14, a streak of seven games allowing a goal. They have allowed just 10 goals in nine games away from Robertson Stadium, gaining six draws.
- "It’s good that we got a shutout – we haven’t had a shutout in a while,” Kinnear said. “When you get a shutout, your goalkeeper needs to be in charge of the area, and I think Tally was doing that tonight."
- The Dynamo had allowed 12 goals over the previous seven games, conceding two in a game on five occasions.
- "You make a save, you’re feeling like you’re contributing, and it’s always a good feeling to feel like you’re helping the team with a result,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall. “Every game is the next most important game, so today, having a good game and getting a shutout [makes it] the most important game of my life, and next week will be the next one as well. Week by week, it’s the most important game of your life."
- Still the league leader with nine assists, Houston’s Brad Davis was able to overcome injury to play the first half vs. Colorado, the only Dynamo player to have started every league game this season.
- After returning from the CONCACAF Gold Cup when they played for Jamaica and Canada respectively, Andre Hainault and Jermaine Taylor have started the last two games together in central defense. The duo partnered together just twice in the Dynamo’s opening 16 games of the season, as Taylor was sidelined much of the time with a foot injury.
- “They’re both internationals and are coming off a good Gold Cup where they showed they’re both strong and physical,” Kinnear said. “I think they do need to talk more, but I think Jermaine showed some good pace Saturday, and Andre’s very confident on the ball and plays 100 miles an hour the whole time, which is good.”
Toronto FC suffered another heavy defeat on the season and at the hands of the New York Red Bulls, falling 5-0 on Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena. TFC has 18 points from 20 games on the season, sitting in a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
- The Red Bulls took lead after 33 minutes. Fullback Jan Gunnar Solli swung a low cross into the area and the ball squirted through the defense to an unmarked Thierry Henry. The Frenchman made no mistake, sidefooting past Stefan Frei from close range.
- Four minutes later, the Red Bulls again made Toronto FC pay. This time Solli dribbled towards the right side of the penalty area laid a simple pass to Rodgers in the center of the area. He popped the ball to himself, volleying his shot past a diving Frei.
- In the 52nd minute, it was 3-0. Dane Richards carried the ball from the halfway line into Toronto’s penalty area and slipped a pass between the Reds’ defense, and from there that Joel Lindpere curled a left-footed shot into the back of the net.
- Second-half substitute Juan Agudelo then put the finishing touches on with two late goals, acrobatically heading home a Lindpere corner kick in the 66th minute, then sneaking into the six-yard box and sliding home Lindpere’s precision cross (89).
- TFC head coach Aron Winter made one change to the team that defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-0 at BMO Field. Tony Tchani came into the midfield for Gianluca Zavarise.
- TORONTO FC (4-3-3): Stefan Frei - Dan Gargan, Ty Harden, Richard Eckersley, Danleigh Borman (Ashtone Morgan 46) - Mikael Yourassowsky (Gianluca Zavarise 68), Nathan Sturgis, Tony Tchani (Matt Stinson 57) - Nick Soolsma, Javier Martina, Joao Plata.
- The defeat matched the heaviest loss in club history, also a 5-0 loss at the hands of the New York Red Bulls, suffered on Oct. 24, 2009 at Giants Stadium. TFC has conceded 15 goals in their four meetings with New York.
- “We have to be calm. It’s a hard defeat. But if you watch the game, I saw some positive things. We get opportunities because the first 20 to 25 minutes, we were the better team. We had a lot of opportunities but we didn’t score,” said TFC head coach Aron Winter. “But New York, the moments they came in the box, the five or six moments, they scored. After 3-nil, it was much easier for them to play football.”
- The Reds have won just once in their last 10 league games, since May 7, and they’ve been shut out six times in that stretch, while allowing 20 goals.
- “I think it’s difficult because obviously, if you’re given that much time on the ball and that much possession, you need to put your own chances away. If we don’t do that, we pay the price and we definitely did that tonight. Obviously they only needed half a chance and they could score. So that’s how difficult it could be,” Winter said.
- It was also the third time this season TFC has allowed four or more goals in a game, and they’ve lost by three goals or more on four occasions.
- “I think it wasn’t just defensively, or just the back four. When were defending, we need to do it as a team. If one player runs off their man, they’re going to pick us off. They did that tonight. They’ve got good players, and obviously we paid the price tonight,” defender Richard Eckersley said.
- Striker Alan Gordon, who has missed the last four matches, and midfielder Jacob Peterson, who has missed five league games in a row, are closer to full fitness, serving as unused substitutes.