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Dynamo Welcome the Red Bulls With First Place on the Line

Sounds nice doesn't it? The Houston Dynamo playing at home on a Saturday night with a chance to take over first place in the Eastern Conference...I could get used to that, even if it's only May. Thanks to some help from two of the Dynamo's old Western Conference nemesis last week, Houston will have a golden opportunity tomorrow night to move to the top of East and gain some more momentum for the start of a three match in eight day sprint.

The Red Bulls of course won't lie down for the Dynamo, especially after their embarrassing loss at home to Chivas USA last weekend. They might however be without Thierry Henry who's availability for Saturday is in doubt after pulling himself out of training on Thursday after 30 minutes with a swollen knee. Given Henry's recent form, every little advantage helps, though it's not like New York doesn't have other attacking options available.

For the Dynamo, it's all about getting better results at Robertson Stadium. They've yet to lose on the road this season, but already have fallen twice at home, a trend that the team could likely do without. There are plenty of positives at work for Houston though at the moment. The defense continues to improve and confidence is high off a road clean sheet against Real Salt Lake. Add to that, the earlier meeting between these two teams that saw the Dynamo get a 1-1 draw at Red Bull Arena and there is every reason to believe the three points is there for the taking.

Another strong defensive performance like we saw at Rio Tinto along with the offense finishing their chances and everyone in orange should be able to leave Robertson with a smile on their face.

Calen Carr, Brian Ching and Danny Cruz remain out with injuries, but the remainder of the roster is ready to go.

Dynamo Notes:

  • Houston midfielder Brad Davis will tie former standouts Brian Mullan and Pat Onstad for the club record with 136 appearances in MLS regular season play for the Dynamo if he appears in Saturday's match.
  • Houston's roster includes two players who have represented the club currently known as the Red Bulls: midfielder Brad Davis, who played with the MetroStars as a rookie in 2002, and defender Hunter Freeman, who played with New York in 2007-08.
  • Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall is expected to start against New York for the third time in his career in regular season play, more than against any other MLS team. Hall has stopped 11 of 14 shots in his previous two games against the Red Bulls, including a perfect 5-for-5 against French star Thierry Henry.
  • The Red Bulls and Dynamo rank first and third in Major League Soccer, respectively, in corner kicks, New York with 65 (56 by Rafa Marquez) and Houston with 56 (55 by Brad Davis). However, the Dynamo have netted three goals from corner kicks in 2011, while the Red Bulls have scored just once.
  • The Dynamo are winless in their last eight games (0-3-5) against New York, dating back to a 1-0 Houston win on May 31, 2008. However, Houston is 2-0-3 at home against the Red Bulls in regular season play.
  • Houston midfielder Brad Davis leads MLS with six assists and is already halfway to his career high in assists: 12. His career regular season total stands at 70 assists, 13th in MLS history and third among active players. Dynamo assistant coach Steve Ralston is the all-time leader with 135 assists.
  • Dynamo forward Will Bruin ranks tied for fifth in the league in goals (4), fourth in shots (27), and is tied for fourth in shots on goal (12), while goalkeeper Tally Hall ranks fourth in saves (30).
  • Midfielder Lovel Palmer is the only Houston player to play all 1,020 minutes of the club's season so far in all competitions, including the team's U.S. Open Cup qualifier.