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MLS Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. New York City FC

THE BASICS
Houston Dynamo vs. New York City FC
Friday, September 30, 2016, 6:45 p.m. CT
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas

TICKETS AVAILABLE

BROADCAST INFORMATION
UniMás - 7:00 p.m. (CHANNEL LISTINGS | WATCH IN ENGLISH)
650 AM / Radio.com app- 6:30 p.m.
Univision Radio 1010 AM - 6:30 p.m.

PREVIEW
It’s a key interconference meeting of teams aiming to improve their positions toward the 2016 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs when the Houston Dynamo play host to New York City FC at BBVA Compass Stadium on Viernes de Fútbol. The Dynamo come into the game off back-to-back victories, their postseason hopes still alive following a 3-1 home win against the Portland Timbers, still nine points below the red line but with games in hand. NYCFC have secured the club’s first-ever playoff berth but now have the top spot in the Eastern Conference in their sights, after their 4-1 win against the Chicago Fire last Friday left them in a three-way tie for the division lead.

REFEREE: Robert Sibiga. AR1 (bench): Kevin Klinger; AR2 (opposite): Logan Brown; 4th: Ismail Elfath
MLS Career: 19 games; FC/gm: 23.4; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 5; pens: 4

INJURY REPORT, PRESENTED BY HOUSTON METHODIST (as of September 13)

HOUSTON DYNAMO—OUT: Tyler Deric – left elbow sprain; Agus – left knee sprain

NEW YORK CITY FC—OUT: Frank Lampard – soleus strain; Maxime Chanot – herniated disk; Connor Brandt – bilateral hip arthroscopy; Shannon Gomez – ACL reconstruction; Steven Mendoza – hamstring

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (1 meeting): Dynamo 0 win, 1 goal … NYCFC 0 win, 1 goal … Ties 1
  • AT HOUSTON: First meeting.
  • LAST YEAR (MLS): 5/30: NYC 1, HOU 1 (Villa 46+ -- Bruin 16)
  • The teams have met once all-time, playing to a 1-1 draw last May 30 at Yankee Stadium during NYCFC’s inaugural MLS season.
  • Coaches record: Patrick Vieira vs. HOU: first game … Wade Barrett vs. POR: first game

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo won a second match in a row for the first time in league play this season, defeating the Portland Timbers 3-1 on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in 10th place in the Western Conference with 32 points from 29 games.

LAST GAME

  • The Dynamo took the lead in the 34th minute when referee Juan Guzman Jr. pointed to the penalty spot after adjudging Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell handled the ball in the area, and Mauro Manotas converted the kick for the opener.
  • The Timbers equalized six minutes after the second half restart when a Darren Mattocks curling effort rattled off the post and Diego Valeri calmly slotted home the rebound first-time past goalkeeper Joe Willis.
  • The Dynamo regained the lead in the 73rd minute when Manotas hit for his second, finishing a low cross from midfielder Boniek Garcia from the center of the area.
  • The match was sealed five minutes from time when the Dynamo caught the Timbers backline pushing up field and Garcia played a through ball in behind for Manotas, and he slotted his chance past Willis to complete his hat trick.
  • Dynamo interim head coach Wade Barrett made one change to the team that defeated Real Salt Lake 1-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Andrew Wenger came into the team for Cristian Maidana.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-2-3-1): Joe Willis - Sheanon Williams, Raul Rodriguez, Jalil Anibaba, DaMarcus Beasley - Ricardo Clark, Collen Warner (Eric Alexander 85) - Andrew Wenger (Cristian Maidana 70), Boniek Garcia, Alex - Mauro Manotas (Will Bruin 89)

TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo won a second consecutive game with the victory against the Timbers, their first back-to-back wins in league play since Sept. 23-26, 2015 vs. Sporting KC and Colorado.
  • The win also put an end to a five-game home winless streak, the Dynamo’s first league victory at BBVA Compass Stadium since the 1-0 win vs. Philadelphia on July 2.
  • “It’s three points at home. We came back from this last road game with a lot of confidence. It was a tough game on the road and I thought the guys battled and fought really hard,” said Barrett. “Playing at home is a different thing, the pressure is on playing in front of the home fans. We expect to win every single time we step on the field out here.”
  • Mauro Manotas scored a hat trick, coming in his 26th career MLS appearance, his fourth in a row, all at the spearhead of the Dynamo attack. Manotas has four goals in his MLS career, all over the last three games. It was the sixth hat trick in Dynamo club history, the first since 2011.
  • “I’m not surprised he had the chances and I’m not surprised he scored the goals. But it’s collective effort. The guys are putting him into good positions, we’re playing some good balls in behind for him to get on the end of, it was an excellent release for the third goal, that was really nice, and like I said it was good play down the left to put him into position for the second goal,” said Barrett. “It takes all those guys being on the same page to create those chances. I’m happy that it all worked out tonight.”
  • Said Manotas: “I’m grateful that Coach has given me this opportunity. He wants me to do my job and have fun doing it. It’s important to enjoy the game. We knew that this would be a tough game, it was against the reigning MLS champion and not too long ago we let a victory slip away at their stadium at the last minute. So we came in here with the mindset that we had to win the game. I came with the mentality that I had to score.”
  • Boniek Garcia collected his ninth assist of the season, adding to his single-season career-high in his fifth MLS season. Garcia has assists in three of the last four games, with four assists in that span.
  • Cristian Maidana came off the substitutes’ bench for the final 20 minutes, his first appearance as a replacement since July 23, starting the last eight league matches. Maidana collected his fourth assist of the season, his second in the last six games.
  • Andrew Wenger came into the starting lineup for the first time since Aug. 14, playing 70 minutes on the right side of the midfield. Wenger had made three substitute appearances in between.
  • “We’re trying to make sure we get the most out of every single day. So that’s the thing that I’ve been the most impressed with. It’s the entire group. It’s the players, it’s the staff, and it’s everybody that’s trying to get the most out of each other every day,” said Barrett. “We’re tasked with coming back and playing against NYCFC Friday. They’re a good team at the top of the table, they just had a good result, it’ll be a tall challenge, but I tell you what this group is really confident right now, I think they are truly playing as a group, as a team, so we need to try to carry that momentum into next week.”