Match Preview: New England Revolution v. Houston Dynamo
– Photo by Katy Umana
After what appeared to be another typical slow Dynamo start to the 2009 MLS Season, losing away matches to the San Jose Earthquakes and D.C. United and only getting draws with Columbus Crew and RedBull New York at home, the pressure was on the Dynamo to get a victory as they hosted the Colorado Rapids on April 20th. In the 20th minute of the match, Brian Ching finally ended the Dynamo’s 254 minute scoring drought when he found the back of the net. The Dynamo held their lead late into the second half, and just when it looked like the Dynamo would get their first win of the 2009 season, the Rapids were awarded a penalty kick in the 84th minute. While it was Ching’s goal that put the Dynamo on the scoreboard, it was the amazing goalkeeping of Pat Onstad that secured the victory.
Following the previous week’s 0-0 draw with RedBull New York, the Dynamo’s Coach, Dominic Kinnear, stated that he felt his squad was on the verge of breaking out of their winless doldrums. As to whether the victory over the Rapids will be the start of a winning streak for the Dynamo is questionable because they were going into an off week and would then have to travel to New England to face the Revolution on the plastic surface at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
While the Dynamo were once again off to a rough start, the New England Revolution managed to beat the Western Conference’s Earthquakes and FC Dallas, while getting draws with I-95 rivals DC United and RedBull New York. This strong start to the 2009 season was achieved despite the injuries plaguing players like Taylor Twellman, Matt Reis, Kheli Dube, and Steve Ralston.
Last weekend the Revolution made their first visit to Real Salt Lake’s Rio Tinto Stadium and ended up leaving the Beehive State with their worse regular season loss ever, giving up six goals in the second half of the match, while failing to score any goals of their own.
This Sunday when the New England Revolution host the Houston Dynamo (2:00 p.m. central on Telefutura), soccer fans will be treated to two teams with a strong history of battling each other and two teams eager to get a win and the three points. As MLS fans are aware, the Dynamo’s back-to-back MLS Cup victories in 2006 and 2007 came at the expense of the New England Revolution while the Revolution beat the Dynamo in the 2008 SuperLiga Final.
The advantage on Sunday goes to the Revolution, thanks to the expected return of Matt Reis and Kheli Dube, as well as the fact that the Dynamo have yet to win at Gillette Stadium, but it will not prove to be an easy victory.
The Dynamo took advantage of their off week to play the PDL’s Laredo Heat in a reserve match, which the Dynamo won 4-0. This match marked the first time that the team’s new signings took the pitch for the Dynamo. Defender Andrew Hainault looked solid on the back line while a jet lagged Ade Akinbiyi was instrumental in the team’s first two goals. It should also be noted that despite never having won at Gillette Stadium, the Dynamo have only lost one match in Foxboro (the Revolution won the 2008 SuperLiga Final on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw).
If Sunday’s match stays true to form and the history between these teams, this meeting between the Revolution and Dynamo will not be a defensive slog, but rather a match highlighted by aggressive, offensive styles from both teams. In the end, it will be the soccer fan who is the true winner, even if the match ends 0-0.