The first showing was pretty good, will the sequel live up to its billing? The Houston Dynamo will take on the New York Red Bulls in primetime this Friday (7 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Network) for the second week in a row. When the teams met last Friday in Houston, the Dynamo dominated in a 2-0 victory that saw them leapfrog New York into first place in the Eastern Conference.
First half goals from Jermaine Taylor and Calen Carr helped the Dynamo see out a comfortable win in front of a sold-out crowd. But rematches are fickle things, and New York will almost certainly fight to make up for their showing last week. Here’s some of the things to watch out for in this week’s match:
Dynamo fans have been hearing about their home-field advantage all season, but this week they travel to the only other place as formidable as BBVA Compass Stadium this year: Red Bull Arena. New York is currently the only other undefeated team at home with a record of 7-0-3.
The Dynamo are only 3-5-4 on the road this season, but they’re unbeaten in their last two trips away from Houston. It will be a tall order to continue their five-game winning streak in Harrison, N.J.
Same game? Not quite
In addition to a change in venue from last week, both teams should feature slightly different lineups than they did in Houston. New York will regain the services of midfielder Dax McCarty, who sat out last game due to yellow card accumulation. In addition, newly signed Designated Player Tim Cahill will have had a full week of training with the squad under his belt and will be looking to make even more of an impact.
For Houston, Dynamo original Ricardo Clark has returned to the club and will be available for selection on Friday night. Whether or not he’s in head coach Dominic Kinnear’s plans for the match remains to be seen. The Dynamo could also be without Carr, who has scored four times in the last four games, but was listed as questionable on Tuesday's injury report with knee swelling.
Players to watch
- Thierry Henry – The Dynamo back line controlled Henry pretty well in Houston, but he is always a threat that should not be taken lightly. Whether it’s dropping in the midfield or leading the forward charge, Henry is just as capable playing the killer pass as he is unleashing a picture-perfect shot.
- Tim Cahill – The former Everton man was probably the most active Red Bull last Friday, and that was after only playing one half of a friendly and a single training session. With a full MLS match and a week of practice under his belt, the Australian international will want a certain measure of vengeance against a Houston midfield that dominated their last meeting.
- Dax McCarty – Don’t let his size fool you, McCarty is a menace in the defensive midfield. Aside from making tackles all across the pitch, McCarty is also a danger with the ball at his feet; equally adept at starting his own attacks as he his breaking down the opponent’s. And his shot from distance isn’t too shabby, either.
Like last week, Friday’s game will be under the lights and on national television. NBC Sports Network will carry the match on television at 7 p.m. CT, and as always you can listen on the radio on SportsTalk 790 AM (English) or La Ranchera 850 AM (Spanish). You can catch all the action with other Dynamo fans at the official viewing party at Richmond Arms.