HOUSTON - AUGUST 03: Boniek Garcia #27 of the Houston Dynamo shakes hands with Thierry Henry #14 of the New York Red Bulls at BBVA Compass Stadium on August 3, 2012 in Houston, Texas. The Houston Dynamo defeated the New York Red Bulls 2-0. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Last Friday the Dynamo defeated the New York Red Bulls 2-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Tonight, the Dynamo will play the New York Red Bulls again, this time at Red Bull Arena. The venue may be different but this game still feels like a brush with deja vu. Oh MLS and you're quirky scheduling...and mid-season rule changes...and ridiculous Disciplinary Committee.
With that victory last week, the Dynamo have moved in to the first place in the Eastern Conference and while that really doesn't matter beyond the ability to puff out our chests, it's nice seeing Houston back on top. The run of form this team is on at the moment is fantastic and at this point we can only hope everyone can stay healthy and that the Dynamo are playing this well come the playoffs (which are under three months away...time flies).
Dax McCarty is back for the Red Bulls after serving a one-match ban for yellow card accumulation and Tim Cahill has had more time to settle in with his new teammates. Add to that the Red Bulls' pride is wounded and I expect the Dynamo are in for a tough challenge tonight.
That challenge will be increased a bit by the uncertainty surrounding Calen Carr's status for the match. He's listed as questionable with some minor knee swelling, but if he can't go it won't be the end of the world. The most likely adjustment would be to move Boniek Garcia up in to a more forward role on the right side and possibly insert Ricardo Clark in the midfield...or Kinnear could use Luiz Camargo, well, he's got options. Given how well Carr has been playing though, I think we'd all like to see him on the field, but the Dynamo won't risk his long term health.
One interesting subplot for this match comes from an article on MLS Soccer Soccer dot com in which it certainly sounds like the Dynamo, and Macoumba Kandji in particular, have gotten in to Theirry Henry's head a bit.
"The time he had on the ball, if you have a bit of talent, again, I'm not attacking anybody, but watch how he was getting the ball," said Henry. "Chesting it, going, 20,000 step-overs, on the spot, nobody smashed him once, like he was playing against his friends.
"I have to say going 1-0 down after 20 seconds didn't help, but we have to defend better than that. It's common sense. You don't let a guy put his hand on your chest and put his foot on the ball and look at you in the eyes and tell you a bedtime story."
For what it's worth, Henry has been playing for awhile so I hardly think he's going to get knocked off his game, but it's nice to see the play of the Dynamo bothering him enough to have him talking this much about it. Kandji saw the comments and sent this tweet last night:
Already in there heads!!!— Mac Kandji (@mkandji10) August 10, 2012
Well done Mac.
Tonight's match kicks-off at some point after 7pm CT depending on how long the NBC Sports Network's pre-game show takes. Good times.
Predicted Lineup: Hall; Hainault, Taylor, Boswell, Ashe; Moffat, Camargo, Davis; Garcia, Bruin, Kandji
This assumes Carr can't play tonight.
Predicted Score: 1-1. The Dynamo very well could win tonight, but I have a funny feeling we'll see a draw of some sorts. If the Dynamo can dominate like they did last week, they'll certainly win but I think NYRB will rebound.