New England Revolution (5-9-3, 18 pts., 6th Eastern Conference) vs. Houston Dynamo (5-9-5,
20 pts., 7th Western Conference)
Saturday, August 14, 7 p.m. CT
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
All-time record: New England leads 4-2-5 (4-1-3 regular season)
Game Guide - downloadable PDF coming soon
6:45 p.m. KHOU 11.2 (English)
7 p.m. FOX Sports Houston Plus (English)
6:30 p.m. TV Informa (Spanish)
6:15 p.m. SportsTalk 790 (English)
6:30 p.m. La Ranchera 850 (Spanish)
The frequent title combatants renew acquaintances for the first time this season, and both sides enter the match with designs on making a playoff push.
New England hopes to extend its unbeaten streak to eight matches in all competitions and ruin former star and current Dynamo assistant coach Steve Ralston's return to Gillette Stadium, while the Dynamo want to snap a nine-match MLS winless streak (0-5-4) that stretches back to May 22.
Influential midfielder Brad Davis is expected to miss the trip after sustaining a left quadriceps strain in last Sunday's 2-0 loss at Seattle. Geoff Cameron or Anthony Obodai could come into central midfield, with Cameron vying for his first start since his return from knee surgery after making two substitute appearances last week.
Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear will also have to alter his defense with usual left back Mike Chabala suspended. Andrew Hainault could switch over from the right to fill the void and leave Richard Mulrooney as the most likely option to cover Chabala's regular duties.
Serbian forward Ilija Stolica will make his first start for the Revolution after coming on as a substitute in last Saturday's 1-0 victory over D.C. United. Stolica could displace either Kenny Mansally or Zack Schilawski up front, while Marko Perovic hopes to recover from a left calf strain in time to feature. Kevin Alston (left hamstring strain) is not quite ready to return at right back, so Emmanuel Osei may continue in his makeshift role out wide.
Heroes & Villains
New England midfielder Sainey Nyassi v. Houston's deputy at left back -- Nyassi poses problems for opposing fullbacks when he opts to use his searing pace to challenge defenders one-versus-one. Any starter for Houston – unless Kinnear opts to drop Corey Ashe into the back four – will struggle to match Nyassi for pace, so the Houston defender in question must remain positionally sound in order to negate the threat.
Stat that makes you go “Hmm…”
One team has pitched a shutout in each of their past four MLS meetings.
Keys to the Game
- Encourage Sainey Nyassi to expose Houston's uncertainty at left back
- Press higher up the field and retain more possession to heap pressure on the struggling Dynamo
- Find ways to generate opportunities in the attack without Brad Davis available to create them
- Shore up the back four even while accommodating for Mike Chabala's suspension