Match preview: Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo

Rapids look to make it two wins in a row, as Dynamo seek to end run of two defeats

COLORADO RAPIDS vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
DICK'S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
June 1, 2014 (WEEK 13, MLS Game #123)
6 pm MT (Altitude)

The Colorado Rapids and Houston Dynamo meet in a key interconference matchup for both clubs when the two clash Sunday evening at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids put an end to a three-game winless skid last time out, rolling to a 4-1 win against the Montreal Impact in Commerce City. The Dynamo are completing a three-game road swing that started with two shutout defeats, the previous one being a 3-0 loss at the San Jose Earthquakes.

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REFEREE: Drew Fischer. AR1 (bench): Kevin Klinger; AR2 (opposite): Scott Kachmarik; 4th: Baboucarr Jallow
MLS Career: 30 games; FC/gm: 26.5; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 2; pens: 9

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD:
HOU: Jermaine Taylor
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: none
DISABLED LIST: HOU: Mark Sherrod
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: HOU: Brad Davis (USA); Boniek Garcia (Honduras)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (18 meetings): Rapids 6 wins, 22 goals ... Dynamo 7 wins, 24 goals ... Ties 5
AT COLORADO (10 meetings): Rapids 5 wins, 10 goals ... Dynamo 3 wins, 7 goals ... Ties 2

LAST YEAR (MLS)
4/28: HOU 1, COL 1 (Barnes 66 - Moor 47+)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • The Rapids have a seven-game undefeated streak alive against the Dynamo. Houston's last victory in the series came in a 1-0 win, April 19, 2009; the teams reached a 1-1 draw last April 28 in Houston in their only meeting.
  • Colorado's only win ever in Houston came in a 2-1 win May 4, 2011 at Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo have not won at Colorado in their last four visits, since a 3-1 victory Oct. 4, 2008.
  • Coaches record: Pablo Mastroeni vs. HOU: first game ... Dominic Kinnear vs. COL: P26 W11 L7 D8

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids put an end to their losing slide after two matches, strolling to a 4-1 win against the Montreal Impact on Saturday evening at at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with 18 points from 12 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Rapids took the lead in the fourth minute when referee Chris Penso pointed to the spot after Montreal's Sanna Nyassi appeared to tug at Colorado striker Edson Buddle, and Dillon Powers converted yet another penalty kick for the Rapids.
  • But the Rapids broke the game open in the second half. In the 54th minute, Kamani Hill cut in from the left side and sent a perfectly placed curling shot past Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins. Then four minutes later, O'Neill spectacularly sealed the match with a precise blast from just outside the area.
  • In the 84th, Powers turned around a defender and fired home a perfect low strike for his second goal of the game to send the sellout home crowd into a frenzy one more time.
  • The Impact did pull a goal back in the 88th minute when Andres Romero raced in from the right touchline and hammered a rising drive into the goal.
  • Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni made three changes to the team that fell 2-1 to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Shane O'Neill, Jose Mari and Kamani Hill came into the team, in place of Marc Burch, Nathan Sturgis and Nick LaBrocca.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-3-1-2): Clint Irwin - Marvell Wynne, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Chris Klute - Dillon Serna (Marlon Hairston 73), Jose Mari, Kamani Hill - Dillon Powers - Deshorn Brown (Nick LaBrocca 75), Edson Buddle (Danny Mwanga 86).

TEAM NEWS

  • The four goals scored by the Rapids were by far a season-high; they had not scored more than two goals in any of their first 11 games.
  • "It just wasn't good enough in the first half. It's a process. You have to keep hitting the points that you want to hit, but the most important thing for me today was the response," said Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni. "These guys took it upon themselves to come out sharp in the second half, and did really well with the chances they created. I couldn't be happier with the way they stuck together and found a way to open up the game."
  • The Rapids scored their fifth goal of the season from the penalty spot, their first since they scored four of their first five of the season, over the first three games, all from converted penalties (and the fifth from a rebound of a saved penalty. The five penalty goals lead MLS.
  • Dillon Powers, the reigning MLS Rookie of the Year, scored two goals, his first two of the season and his first career two-goal game.
  • Homegrown Player Shane O'Neill scored his first professional goal in his 37th career league appearance since signing in 2012.
  • "It's been a long time coming for me. It felt really good once the ball popped out. I think I had a couple for chances like that last year. I got a good touch on it. Once it left my foot, I kind of had a feeling it was going in. It was great, but more importantly, we got the three points," O'Neill said.
  • Making his third start of the season, Kamani Hill netted his first goal of the season, his first MLS goal since Oct. 27, 2012 when he scored vs. Houston.
  • "Last year was difficult for me. I didn't see the field that much, but this year I think there's a really strong spirit within the group. I think that's bringing everybody up," said Hill. "Everybody is included in the team and everybody is working hard for each other. That's the best part about it because you're not so worried about playing or not playing. You're more worried about the group as a whole."
  • There will be an injury concern for the weekend after Edson Buddle was forced from the field injured in the 86th minute.
  • "Buddle will be out for a couple of weeks," Mastroeni said. "He won't be available, definitely this weekend, and then it's touch and go to see where he's at, but there's no need ñ with this (World Cup) break ahead ñ to force the issue."
  • Deshorn Brown will be available for the Rapids after playing for the Jamaican national team on Monday evening at Red Bull Arena, coming on as an 83rd-minute substitute.

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo continued their road swing with a second loss, falling 3-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Dynamo are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 17 points from 14 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Quakes took the lead after Dynamo defender David Horst played the ball back to goalkeeper Tally Hall, who picked it up just outside his own six-yard box, giving the Quakes an indirect free kick. Shea Salinas nudged the ball into the path of Khari Stephenson, who hammered a shot to the back post for the 38th-minute opener.
  • The lead was doubled just before hour mark. Steven Lenhart went down in a collision with Houston fullback Corey Ashe after being playing in by Yannick Djalo, and referee Geoff Gamble pointed to the spot. Stephenson coolly converted the penalty for his second goal.
  • It was 3-0 in the in the 70th minute. Chasing down a long ball out of the back, Atiba Harris caught Hall outside of his box and in no-man's land. Harris saw his header go off the right post, but he won the foot race and touched home the rebound.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that dropped a 2-0 decision to D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Servando Carrasco came into the side in place of Mark Sherrod.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-2-3-1): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor (A.J. Cochran 72), David Horst, Corey Ashe - Servando Carrasco, Warren Creavalle (Alexander Lopez 59) - Omar Cummings, Giles Barnes, Andrew Driver (Jason Johnson 46) - Will Bruin.

TEAM NEWS

  • The trip to Commerce City concludes a three-game road swing for the Dynamo, which started with shutout defeats at D.C. United (0-2) and San Jose (0-3).
  • "It makes your job a lot harder. Obviously, we had a game Saturday night, followed by a game Wednesday night, followed by a game Sunday night; it's tough. You have to really try and look out for yourself," said midfielder Andrew Driver. "The flights make it even harder. We are disappointed, but I do think we need to perform better even if we we're tired."
  • Said Servando Carrasco: "I think it's fortifying the defense a little bit," Carrasco said. "I think we've been solid all year ... maybe just focus a little bit at times. I think if we all focus on our individual game in the long run, hopefully by next week, we can change those mistakes and move forward."
  • The Dynamo have gone 209 minutes since scoring, their second-longest goalless streak this season, after being shut out in three consecutive games and going an MLS-high 335 minutes without a goal from April 5-27.
  • "I think it comes down to the character of the team. This is a test: we've been knocked down with two bad results on the road and now it's about going back home, having a good week of training and focusing on the game in Colorado," said Carrasco. "Winning changes everything so we're going to focus on that."
  • The Dynamo were hit with another season-ending injury when it was determined Mark Sherrod suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
  • "It seems like every year you go through a spell where you're putting guys in positions they don't usually play and guys are getting a chance to make a name for themselves and this year's no different," said goalkeeper Tally Hall.
  • The Dynamo were forced to recall Jason Johnson and Anthony Arena from loans with USL PRO side Pittsburgh Riverhounds; Johnson made his first MLS appearance of the season at San Jose, coming on as a substitute at halftime.
  • "You have guys that maybe the fans haven't seen very much but the team knows and has confidence in, and we're ready for them to be a big part of our success," Hall said. "We just have the mentality right now to just be a positive force for the team and sometimes that's what it takes to win."