Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls
Saturday, April 1, 2017, 7:30 p.m. CT
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
The Houston Dynamo may have dropped their first points of the season last time out, but their confidence has not been shaken as they look ahead to a challenging home game against the New York Red Bulls.
The reinvigorated Dynamo have been one of the early surprises of 2017, and the next step for them is to turn BBVA Compass into a fortress.
“We have no worries, there’s no extra difficulty,” Dynamo midfielder Alex said Tuesday of the challenge presented by one of the East’s top teams. “We are playing at home, we have to make ourselves be respected here, so we won’t have any extra difficulty.”
The Red Bulls, like the Dynamo, got off to a strong start by picking up two straight wins to begin the season, only to drop points at Seattle and most recently in a scoreless home draw against a depleted Real Salt Lake side. RSL's physical play in that game drew the ire of New York head coach Jesse Marsch.
“This is not a new tactic of playing the Red Bulls. Don’t allow their pressure, foul them when we get on the counter, break up their play when they have the ball, make it hard on their good attacking players,” he said this week. “We’ve tried to alert PRO and the league… Oh and, I’m sorry, slow the game down almost obnoxiously. We’ve tried to make that clear to PRO and the league that this is a tactic and that it’s not good for the league.”
New York are unlikely to receive any quarter from a Dynamo side that features a physical midfield trio and athletic attacking group, so the perceived physical play against the visitors could well be a key plot point as the contest unfolds.
The international window may be over, but a lingering concern for the Dynamo coming out of the break is the health of rising star Romell Quioto, who exited Honduras’ heavy defeat to the United States last Friday with a shoulder injury. With Quioto ruled out for 2-4 weeks with a dislocated left shoulder, Andrew Wenger could take his place in the starting XI.
“[My focus will be] trying to take what I am good at and have been successful at in the past and implement that into the style the coaching staff wants,” Wenger said of the possibility of playing. “I mean, I am not going to be Romell. Quioto has been fantastic. I will just try to play my game.”
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT: D George Malki (torn ACL), D Agus (left hamstring), F Romell Quioto (shoulder injury), M Juan David Cabezas (concussion); QUESTIONABLE: GK Joe Willis (knee injury),
Projected starting XI (4-3-3): Tyler Deric – A.J. DeLaGarza, Adolfo Machado, Leonardo, DaMarcus Beasley – Ricardo Clark, Eric Alexander, Alex – Alberth Elis, Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres, Andrew Wenger
Notes: Dynamo midfielder Alex is tied for the MLS lead with three assists in three games this season for the Dynamo. He had four assists in his first 121 MLS appearances.
New York Red Bulls
The Red Bulls are nearing full strength with the return of influential playmaker Sacha Kljestan from international duty, but still figure to be without DP forward Gonzalo Veron, who continues to nurse a hamstring injury. Head coach Jesse Marsch is likely to stick with the his 4-2-2-2 formation with recent addition Fredrik Gulbrandsen partnering the newly re-signed Bradley Wright-Phillips up top in Veron's absence. Red Bulls fans can also look forward to another outing from teenage midfielder Tyler Adams, who shined in his first start of the season against RSL.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT: D Gideon Baah (broken leg), F Gonzalo Veron (hamstring injury)
Projected starting XI (4-2-2-2): Luis Robles – Connor Lade, Damien Perrinelle, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence – Felipe, Tyler Adams – Sacha Kljestan, Daniel Royer – Fredrik Gulbrandsen, Bradley Wright-Phillips
Notes: Wright-Phillips has scored seven goals in nine appearances against Houston (including playoffs), tied for his third-most goals against any team. … The Red Bulls have never had consecutive scoreless draws in the regular season.
Even on the road, history is on the Red Bulls’ side in this one – they’ve picked up points in seven of their 11 regular-season visits to Houston, though their last win there came in 2013. The two teams’ most recent meeting in Space City, on June 5, 2015, ended in a 4-2 win for the Dynamo.
- Overall: Houston 4 wins (26 goals) … Red Bulls 11 wins (39 goals) … Ties 8
- At Houston: Houston 4 wins (19 goals) … Red Bulls 2 wins (16 goals) .. Ties 5
- Referee: Fotis Bazakos
- Assistant Referees: Eduardo Mariscal, Jose Da Silva
- 4th Official: Mark Kadlecik