The Houston Dynamo continue their home stand as the New England Revolution come to town, missing two key starters due to suspension.
Shalrie Joseph and Pat Phelan will be serving red card suspensions, leaving gaps in Steve Nicol's lineup and his team without their most dangerous play maker in Joseph. What does this mean for the Dynamo? Quite frankly it means this is a match they should win. Not that New England will lie down and let Houston run over them, far from it.
New England has been solid defensively, with their only loss coming at the hands of Real Salt Lake (easily the best team in MLS). Their lone victory over DC United was another example of the rampant problems with officiating in the league but they took advantage of the opportunities presented to them and you can't blame them for that.
The Dynamo simply need to focus on continuing to improve and building on the excellent performance last weekend against the Whitecaps. I fully expect the Revs to enter the match with a defensive game plan, looking to steal a point on the road, so Houston needs to come out with the same aggression we saw last Sunday. Force the issue, generate pressure and score goals...always easier said that done, but this will be a good barometer of just how far this Dynamo team has from so far this season.
The lineup should be much the same as last week. Brian Ching and Jermaine Taylor are out again, so we'll likely see Ashe, Hainault, Boswell and Freeman in the back. Danny Cruz deserves another start after his energetic play against Vancouver so I see a midfield of Palmer, Cruz, Davis and Cameron. Both starting strikers scored goals last week so it makes sense to ride the hot hand and keep Bruin and Weaver starting up front.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
- Houston forward Cam Weaver has scored in back-to-back games for the first time in his MLS career, including the opening goal in Houston's 3-1 win over Vancouver last Sunday. Weaver has now scored three goals in his last five MLS games and four times in his last nine, dating back to the 2010 season. For his Dynamo career in all competitions, Weaver has scored one goal every 215 minutes, second only to captain Brian Ching (1 goal every 202 minutes).
- Midfielder Brad Davis notched assists on all three Houston goals against Vancouver, setting a personal best and becoming the third player in team history to record three assists in one game, joining Dwayne De Rosario (4 assists, 4/2/06) and Corey Ashe (3 assists, 9/8/07). Davis now has 67 assists in his MLS career, 16th in league history and fourth among active players.
- Defender Bobby Boswell had a goal and an assist in a five-minute span last week, equaling in those five minutes his MLS totals from the previous two seasons combined (1 goal, 1 assist). The goal was Boswell's seventh for the club in all competitions since arriving in 2008.
- Rookie forward Will Bruin notched his first professional goal in the 76th minute of last Sunday's 3-1 win over Vancouver. Bruin, one of the Dynamo's two selections in the first round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, has started all four MLS games and contributed one goal and one assist.
- Defender Bobby Boswell and midfielder Lovel Palmer are the only two Houston players to play all 480 minutes of the club's season so far in all competitions, including the team's U.S. Open Cup qualifier.
- Houston midfielder Colin Clark made his first MLS appearance with the Dynamo last Sunday, coming on as a substitute against Vancouver. Clark had made his competitive debut on Wednesday, April 6, starting and playing 76 minutes in an Open Cup qualifier against Sporting Kansas City. Clark joined the Dynamo on September 15, 2010, but has been recovering from ACL surgery.