Streaking Dynamo gear up for Chivas
Houston puts unbeaten mark on line against Chivas on Wednesday
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HOUSTON DYNAMO vs CHIVAS USA
ROBERTSON STADIUM, Houston, Texas
June 10, 2009 (WEEK 13) / MLS Game #93
HOUSTON, TX.- The Houston Dynamo are the hottest team in Major League Soccer, putting their three-game winning streak and eight-game unbeaten streak on the line against the top team in the Western Conference and the MLS overall standings – Chivas USA. Six points separate Houston from Chivas, but Houston has two games in hand. The teams have allowed the fewest goals in the league (Houston 7 goals against, Chivas 9 goals against). It’s their first meeting of the season – and it’s been more than six hours of league play since Chivas last scored a goal in Houston.
REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. SAR (bench): Sean Hurd; JAR (opposite): Greg Boles; 4th: Jasen Anno MLS Career: 30 games; FC/gm: 26.5; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 7; pens: 11
INJURY REPORT: HOUSTON DYNAMO – OUT: DF Eddie Robinson (L knee surgery); FW Brian Ching (L hamstring strain) … CHIVAS USA — OUT: DF Bobby Burling (sports hernia surgery); DF Ante Jazic (concussion); GK Dan Kennedy (R knee sprain); FW Ante Razov (R ankle surgery); DF Lawson Vaughn (L ankle surgery); MF Cesar Zamora (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Justin Braun (concussion); DF Shavar Thomas (concussion)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: HOU: Ricardo Clark (USA; FIFA Confederations Cup) … CHV: Jonathan Bornstein, Sacha Kljestan (USA; FIFA Confederations Cup)
SUSPENDED: CHV: Mariano Trujillo (yellow card accumulation; through June 10)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHV: Atiba Harris, Jesse Marsch, Eduardo Lillingston
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Brad Davis; Ricardo Clark; Geoff Cameron …CHV: Paulo Nagamura
ALL-TIME (10 meetings): Dynamo 4 wins, 16 goals … Chivas USA 1 win, 6 goals … Ties 5
AT ROBERTSON STADIUM (6 meetings): Dynamo 4 wins, 12 goals … Chivas USA 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 2
5/3: HOU 0, CHV 0
8/20: HOU 4, CHV 0 (Holden 11; Kamara 22, 36; Jaqua 28)
10/25: CHV 1, HOU 1 (Curtin 90 – De Rosario 52)
• When Chivas USA got a Jim Curtin goal in the final minute of last year’s season finale to secure a 1-1 draw, it was the Red-and-White first goal against Houston in 663 league minutes, dating back to a 3-2 win at The Home Depot Center on Aug. 26, 2006. Chivas did not score in the next six meetings – including the first two meetings last year, before the Oct. 25 final.
• The last time Chivas USA scored in a league match against Houston also came in their only victory against the Dynamo in 10 all-time league meetings. The Dynamo had won three of the intervening six matches, with three draws.
• Chivas scored a goal in their first ever appearance at Robertson Stadium – a 3-1 loss on July 8, 2006 – and have not scored since. That’s now a scoreless streak of 465 minutes entering the game in league play in the Space City (and 555 minutes in all competitions)
•The teams also met in the 2006 Western Conference Semifinal Series, won 3-2 on aggregate by Houston, including a 2-0 victory at Robertson Stadium.
• Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. CHV: P14 W6 L1 D7 … Preki v HOU: P6 W0 L3 D3
The Houston Dynamo continued their charge up the standings, extending their undefeated streak to seven games with a 1-0 victory on the road Friday against Eastern Conference leaders Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. The Dynamo have 21 points from 11 games on the season, still trailing MLS overall leaders by Chivas USA.
• The Dynamo came into the game with five wins in their last six matches, while the Fire had seen their 11-game unbeaten streak to open the season finally come to an end the Sunday before in a home loss to FC Dallas.
• It took just four minutes for the game’s only goal. A long Andrew Hainault pass found Kei Kamara in the left corner, and after he ran at Fire defender C.J. Brown, Kamara sent a low pass toward the near post where Stuart Holden raced in and flicked the ball over Chicago goalkeeper Jon Busch for his second goal in as many games.
• That was the shot on goal for the game for the Dynamo; Pat Onstad made two saves for Houston, his last just minutes into the second half, as the Dynamo recorded their sixth shutout in the last eight games.
• Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that defeated Toronto FC 3-0 at Robertson Stadium the week before. With Ricardo Clark and Brian Ching both away on international duty, Richard Mulrooney came into the holding midfield role and Ade Akinbiyi started up top.
• Here’s Kinnear’s team (4-3-1-2): Pat Onstad – Craig Waibel, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Andrew Hainault – Corey Ashe (Brian Mullan 52), Richard Mulrooney, Brad Davis – Stuart Holden – Ade Akinbiyi (Dominic Oduro 65), Kei Kamara (Chris Wondolowski 75). Substitutes Not Used: Wade Barrett, Mike Chabala, Danny Cruz, Tally Hall
• It was a tough win, and we played a little differently than we have in the past. We had a great start to the game," Kinnear said. "After Stuart’s goal, Chicago gave us good momentum. Mid-part of the second half, we got a couple of breaks. In the second half, we had better possession and we didn’t give them too many chances. We were almost mistake-free defensively.
• The Dynamo haven’t allowed more than a single goal in any of their last nine games, with six shutouts in that time; their seven goals allowed on the season are fewest in MLS.
• "We were under a lot of pressure [against Chicago], and I think we kind of defended with our lives today. The guys are playing well. Defensively, we played very well," said goalkeeper Pat Onstad. "Our front two guys played very hard and I think in that way, we’ve been pretty successful this year."
• The Dynamo are on track to break their record for best defensive performance in a season. The Dynamo have conceded their seven goals in 11 games, an average of 0.64 per game. Houston holds the MLS record for fewest goals allowed in one season, 23 in 2007 (0.77 per game); a year ago, they allowed 32 goals in 30 games, the 10th-best record all-time.
• The previous two Dynamo victories were characterized by quick goal bursts. Once again, they struck early – the Holden goal matched Brian Ching’s fourth-minute goal that kicked off the San Jose game – but against Chicago, after that goal, they didn’t have another shot on target.
• "We knew they were going to give it a good go," Holden said. "We neutralized that. We couldn’t be happier to leave here with a win. It wasn’t pretty. But by any means it’s three points. We’ll take it."
• The Dynamo opened the campaign with two losses and two ties in their first four games, and allowed five goals over the first three. They’ve won six of seven since and are 2-0-1 in their last three road games – after the Chivas match, five of the next six Houston games will be on the road, including four in a row June 28-July 18.
• "It’s a little more of a grind [winning games on the road] than winning games at home. Now we’ve had six wins and two losses. We picked up 20 points and that’s important for us. We’ve been chasing Chivas, and we got a little closer tonight. During that streak, defensively we only gave up two goals, which is great," Kinnear said.
• The Dynamo were without Brian Ching for the Fire match as he was with the U.S. national team, but the hamstring injury that kept him out of both qualifiers and the squad for the FIFA Confederations Cup will also certainly put him out for the Chivas game. While Ade Akinbiyi started alongside Kei Kamara in attack at Chicago, both were replaced in the second half by Dominic Oduro and Chris Wondolowski.
• "It was one of those games where we weren’t great, but credit Chicago for making it hard for us," said Kinnear. "The forwards didn’t get a lot of chances because we didn’t hold on to the ball very well. They worked very hard and all the guys came in and contributed to the win. All four guys really helped us."
MLS overall leader Chivas USA put an end to a three-game winless slide by getting the game’s only goal for a home victory against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. Chivas USA have 27 points from 13 matches, still leading the Western Conference, six points ahead of the Houston Dynamo and six points ahead of East leaders Chicago Fire.
• Chivas had played to a pair of draws and a loss in their last three games, facing a Sounders FC side for a second time that came into the game having tied five times in a row.
• The game’s lone goal came in the 38th minute. A low shot from Paulo Nagamura from the heart of the area brought out a diving save from Kasey Keller, but he couldn’t hold the ball and Eduardo Lillingston swooped in to tap home the rebound for his fifth goal on the season.
• Chivas nearly put a second home midway through the second half when Lillingston chipped an advancing Keller and the ball seemed destined to land in the empty goal — until a backtracking Jhon Kennedy Hurtado headed it off the line.
• Sounders FC finished the game with 10 man after striker Nate Jaqua was sent off in the 88th minute after receiving a second yellow card.
• "Our guys from the get-go were very resilient and they were determined not to give up anything easy away, even though [Seattle] had a little more of the ball than us, they really didn’t have that many good chances, maybe one or two good chances [in each] half," Preki said. "On the other hand in the first half, we created one chance and we put it away … so we are happy with three points."
• With midfielders Sacha Kljestan (international duty) and Jesse Marsch (suspension) out of the lineup, Preki went to Justin Braun in a wide midfield role and gave Michael Lahoud his first MLS start in the center of the park. "I feel very fortunate to have this chance," said Lahoud. "Leading up to the game, Preki gave me a lot of positive feedback. I’m just happy I was able to help the team in such a big match." Said Preki: "[Kljestan and Marsch] are a big piece of our team and we were missing them. But give the credit to Justin and to Michael. They stepped in and they’ve done a pretty decent job."
• Jorge Flores made his first start of the season – and his first appearance since April 5 – in coming in for Jonathan Bornstein (international duty) at left back. Flores had played a grand total of 16 minutes before Saturday. While a midfielder for nearly every minute of his Chivas USA career, Flores has been used as a left back throughout his time this year with the U.S. under-20 national team.
• "Jorge did a great job," said Carey Talley. "The play at the end where he got his foot on the inside of [Sanna] Nyassi and cleared the ball away shows great positioning. For a young player who’s not getting regular minutes to be that mentally sharp at the end of game is a great thing."
• Claudio Suarez also saw his first minutes of 2009 after finally recovering from a left calf strain. The Mexican legend came on as a substitute in the 70th minute after Shavar Thomas picked up a minor concussion.
• "I felt like a rookie," said Suarez. "I was very nervous because any time you’re in a competition, you want to do things right. Especially when you come in at a moment like that, you have to defend and maintain the result."
• After three consecutive victories – all by shutout – Chivas had hit a bit of a skid. Twice they allowed the opposition to come back and snatch points in the last three games, a 2-2 draw with D.C. United and a 3-2 loss to Chicago, part of the three-game losing streak.
• "It was important for our confidence to get that win," said Talley. "In the last few weeks we’ve played some very good soccer games and come away with a point or with nothing. So for us to come out of this game with three points, you have to give credit to our guys."