This is the fourth and final regular-season meeting of 2006 for the two clubs; the last time they met the Rapids defeated the Dynamo 1-0 on July 26 at Invesco Field.
The Colorado Rapids need at least a tie in Houston on Saturday to earn the right to qualify for the 2006 MLS Playoffs. A Dynamo win over Colorado would leave the door open for Real Salt Lake to claim the final spot in the West in the last game of the season – Sunday Oct. 15 against Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center.
Since the Rapids hold the season tiebreaker against Salt Lake if Colorado ties or defeats Houston Saturday the Rapids clinch a playoff spot. The Rapids can also qualify with a loss if RSL also lose on Sunday to Chivas. The Rapids can still finish in either the #3 or #4 spot in the West but not in the #2 spot meaning that if they qualify for the playoffs on Saturday Colorado can look forward to hosting a home playoff game at Invesco Field the weekend of October 21st.
For the full match preview of Saturday's match including projected lineups the latest injury report miscellaneous game notes broadcast information head-to-head stats and more visit the Rapids MatchUp Page by CLICKING HERE.
Saturday's match will only be broadcast on HDNet so if you don't get it join other fans for the official Rapids Official Away Game Viewing Party at the British Bulldog to watch the game live in a great soccer atmosphere!
The British Bulldog is located at Broadway and Stout streets in Denver and you never know who you might run into there......Rapids players Terry Cooke and Matt Crawford have been surprise guests at the last two viewing parties!
The Rapids look forward to seeing fans at the British Bulldog Saturday night for the official viewing party!
Rapids at Houston Dynamo Official Viewing Party Details:
WHEN: Saturday Oct. 14. Kickoff is at 6:30pm MT live on HDNet! Get there early to reserve your spot!
WHERE: The British Bulldog located at 2052 Stout Street in Denver (Broadway and Stout are the cross streets). Phone: 303-295-7974.
COST: Free to attend for fans of all ages!
The Colorado Rapids look forward to seeing all fans out at the British Bulldog for the game on Saturday!
The following Colorado establishments who subscribe to HDNet have also agreed to show the game live:
Buffalo Wild Wings
8350 West 80th Avenue
7301 South Santa Fe Drive
COLORADO RAPIDS AT HOUSTON DYNAMO MATCH PREVIEW
ROBERTSON STADIUM Houston Texas
6:30 p.m. MT (TV: HDNet)
Oct. 7 2006 (WEEK 28) MLS Game #189
The Colorado Rapids hit the road - which hasn't been kind to them this season - needing just a single point to ensure they will be in the MLS Cup Playoffs. It's a rematch of the season opener those many months ago - when Brian Ching scored four goals as Houston Dynamo won their first-ever game 5-2. Dynamo have already secured their place in the postseason; with a victory against Colorado the Rapids will be then left waiting on Sunday's match between Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake to see their future -a Real win and Colorado is out. However Houston also has something to play for: a Colorado victory then a Chivas USA win the following day and Chivas will have home-field advantage when the two clubs meet in the conference semifinals.
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): Bill Dittmar; JAR (opposite): Corey Rockwell; 4th: Richard Heron
MLS Career: 48 games; FC/gm: 29.8; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 11; pens: 21
MLS 2006: 11 games; FC/gm: 26.5 (avg: 28.9); Y/gm: 3.5 (avg: 3.64); R: 1 (MLS: 43); pens: 2 (MLS: 41)
Games involving Dynam P1 W0 L0 T1; FC/gm: 31.0; Y/gm: 5.0; R: 0; pens: 1
Games involving Rapids: P9 W2 L5 T2; FC/gm: 25.9; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 1; pens: 5
HOUSTON DYNAMO - OUT: FW Julian Nash (L foot metatarsal fracture); QUESTIONABLE: FW Alejandro Moreno (lower back strain); MF Brian Mullan (R knee sprain) ...
COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: FW Luchi Gonzalez (R groin); PROBABLE: MF Alain Nkong (R knee); MF Matt Crawford (R hip); FW Jovan Kirovski (R quadriceps)
COL: Clint Mathis (through Oct. 15); Mike Petke (through Oct. 15)
FINED NEXT YELLOW CARD (caution limit suspensions do not carry over to postseason): HOU: Ryan Cochrane Brian Mullan ... COL: Kyle Beckerman
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (3 meetings): Dynamo 2 wins (0 shootout) 6 goals ... Rapids 1 win (0 shootout) 3 goals ... 0 draws
AT HOUSTON (1 meeting): Dynamo 1 win (0 shootout) 5 goals ... Rapids 0 wins (0 shootout) 2 goals ... 0 draws
This is the fourth meeting between the Houston club and Colorado the second of two on the Buffalo Bayou after the Rapids played in the first-ever match at Robertson Stadium.
Coaches records: Dominic Kinnear vs. COL: P11 W6 L2 D3 ... Fernando Clavijo v HOU: P3 W1 L2 D0
4/2: HOU 5 COL 2 (Ching 13 37 44 72; Moreno 90 - Beckerman 14; Kirovski 52)
4/29: COL 0 HOU 1 (Ching 15)
7/26: COL 1 HOU 0 (Hernandez 35)
Dynamo won the first two meetings ever between the clubs winning on each ground before the Rapids claimed the last encounter on their home field.
Houston made a dramatic start to its Major League Soccer history winning the inaugural game in club history 5-2 against Rapids on April 2 at Robertson Stadium.
Brian Ching made sure the inaugural game for Dynamo was one the new team's fans wouldn't soon forget. He scored four goals - one shy of the league record - to lead Dynamo to victory in their first-ever match. He had a hat trick by halftime as Dynamo began in rollicking fashion before a crowd of better than 25000 in Houston.
He put Dynamo into the lead in the 13th minute getting the slightest of touches on a Wade Barrett effort before a tremendous long-range blast from Kyle Beckerman from all of 30 yards drew Colorado level.
Then Ching scored twice before the break with nearly identical goals. Twice De Rosario set Brian Mullan free on the right and twice the winger put in pinpoint crosses each time Ching coming in to powerfully head home.
Jovan Kirovski brought the Rapids back to within one with a spectacular free kick that sailed over the Houston wall in the 53rd minute but Ching headed home a De Rosario corner kick in the 72nd minute to restore the two-goal margin. Alejandro Moreno then provided the finishing touch in stoppage time with a full bicycle kick.
Then three weeks later Dynamo went to Colorado and came away with a 1-0 victory as Ching scored for the fifth time against the Rapids this season.
Ching pounded home the rebound of his own header from a Dwayne De Rosario corner saved well by Rapids 'keeper Joe Cannon but leaving Ching no challenge in putting the second chance over him into the back of the net.
The Rapids handed Dynamo their first loss since May 20 a stretch of 10 games winning 1-0 at Invesco Field at Mile High on July 26. The game's lone goal came in the 35th minute. From a throw-in on the right Nicolas Hernandez and Thiago Martins worked a quick one-two. The Argentinean took the return pass and hit a low hard drive from the top of the penalty area that beat Dynamo 'keeper Pat Onstad inside his near post.
Colorado goalkeeper Joe Cannon made a number of key saves down the stretch as the Rapids was forced back on their heels but Dynamo still saw their long unbeaten streak come to an end. Here's Clavijo's team (4-3-1-2): Joe Cannon - Dan Gargan Pablo Mastroeni (Chris Wingert 76 / Hunter Freeman 95+) Aitor Karanka Eric Denton - Terry Cooke Kyle Beckerman Daniel Wasson - Clint Mathis - Nicolas Hernandez Thiago Martins (Jacob Peterson 85). [Substitutes Not Used: Dedi Ben-Dayan Colin Clark Matt Jordan Fabrice Noel]
Here's Kinnear's team (4-3-1-2): Pat Onstad - Kelly Gray (Kevin Goldthwaite 80) Ryan Cochrane Eddie Robinson Craig Waibel (Stuart Holden 80) - Brian Mullan Ricardo Clark Brad Davis - Dwayne De Rosario - Brian Ching Alejandro Moreno. [Substitutes Not Used: Chris Aloisi Ronald Cerritos Patrick Ianni Zach Wells Chris Wondolowski]
Houston Dynamo still have a lot to play for in the final weekend of the regular season even after extending their unbeaten streak to five games with a 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake last Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Dynamo now have 45 points from 31 matches three ahead of Chivas USA in the Western Conference. A win or a draw against Colorado and they will hold home-field advantage in the conference semifinals; a loss and a Chivas win and Dynamo will play host to the first leg of the home-and-home series.
-Real Salt Lake could not claim a playoff berth with a victory but could certainly make things tighter for the final weekend. Houston Dynamo were in and after the Chivas USA loss with a victory could secure home-field advantage for the conference semifinals.
-Dynamo controlled the opening 45 minutes and deservedly went ahead in the 20th minute through Paul Dalglish. Ricardo Clark hit a defense-splitting pass and Dalglish spun away from marker Jack Stewart before slotting the ball inside Scott Garlick and the near post for his first MLS goal.
-But Real kept their playoff dreams alive with an equalizer on the hour. Just minutes after coming on as a substitute Mehdi Ballouchy played a nice combination with Jeff Cunningham and rifled home a low shot from the edge of the area.
-Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made four changes to the team that defeated D.C. United 1-0 the Saturday before at Robertson Stadium. Ryan Cochrane and Kelly Gray were an all-change central defense partnership coming in for the injured Adrian Serioux and the suspended Eddie Robinson. Stuart Holden came into the heart of midfield as Dwayne De Rosario was given the night off while Paul Dalglish started in attack in place of the injured Alejandro Moreno.
-Here's Kinnear's team (4-1-3-2): Pat Onstad - Craig Waibel Ryan Cochrane Kelly Gray Wade Barrett - Ricardo Clark - Brian Mullan Stuart Holden (Dwayne De Rosario 73) Brad Davis - Paul Dalglish (Kevin Goldthwaite 88) Brian Ching. [Substitutes Not Used: Chris Aloisi Martin Hutton Patrick Ianni Alejandro Moreno Chris Wondolowski]
-"We had a great first half. I thought it was one of nicer games we played in the first half especially on the road. I thought we created some good chances Kinnear said. "The second half I told the guys we are going to come out with a huge push we have to so be prepared for it be able to play and be able to defend."
-Although Dynamo had clinched a postseason place the weekend before they still started strongly only to have RSL come back into the game in the second half.
-"Our fouls early in the second half put us in a defensive posture as far as defending our box rather than defending up the field said Kinnear. "Overall we had that 10-minute spell ... where they were just piling on the pressure and that's where they scored. If you take that 10 minutes away and I thought we were very good tonight."
-Said defender Wade Barrett: "We came in with the right approach to the game. I know we clinched a playoff spot last weekend and I know they were pushing this weekend but these two games for us were very important tonight and next week. Number one wanting to get three points out of every game and having a bit of professional pride. Number two not limping into the playoffs with us building some momentum with the win last weekend and building some steam going into the playoffs."
-Paul Dalglish was given his second MLS start but his first as an out-and-out striker. He had seven attempts at goal tying a Dynamo season-high with five shots on goal.
-"He was spinning in the channels nice said Kinnear. "He was giving them some problems with the timing of his runs. The balls to him were nice as well. It was a good goal by him. He had a good spell up front tonight. He looked very dangerous and very active."
-The draw might not have been ideal for Dynamo but they will use their remaining match at home against Colorado - who will be playing for its playoff life - to prepare for a successful run in the postseason
-"Every game's a big game at this stage of the season said Dalglish. "We need to keep our form and keep playing well. Everyone's playing for a place to play in the playoffs now. So every game's a big game."
The Colorado Rapids still gamely hung on to fourth place in the Western Conference coming away with a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls in the final regular season game to played at Invesco Field at Mile High last Saturday. The Rapids have 40 points from 38 matches two behind Chivas USA and two ahead of Real Salt Lake. A victory or a draw in Houston and they will secure their place in the MLS Cup Playoffs; a loss and an RSL victory against Chivas USA on Sunday and they will be on the outside looking in at the postseason.
-The Rapids returned home for their final regular season ever at Invesco Field at Mile High following a winless three-game road swing while the New York Red Bulls knew they couldn't secure their playoff future but with a victory could ensure they would need just a point from the season finale.
-Yet it was the Rapids who got off to a dream start. Hunter Freeman launched a long ball downfield and as he was trying to hold Carlos Mendes Colorado striker Thiago Martins went to ground in the area. But with referee Brian Hall playing advantage Jacob Peterson came racing from behind collected the ball and slotted home past Jon Conway for the opener.
-But the Red Bulls drew level on the hour mark. From a throw-in the ball pinged around between players before Amado Guevara latched onto it dribbled into the Colorado penalty area and lashed home a dipping drive inside the far post.
-Rapids head coach Fernando Clavijo made two changes to the team that lost 3-1 on the road to the New England Revolution the weekend before. Terry Cooke made his first start since Aug. 9 coming into a wide midfield role in place of Colin Clark while Jacob Peterson also returned to the lineup in place of the suspended Clint Mathis as Niko Hernandez moved into up front to partner Thiago Martins.
-Here's Clavijo's team (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Dan Gargan Aitor Karanka Mike Petke Hunter Freeman - Terry Cooke Kyle Beckerman Pablo Mastroeni Jacob Peterson - Nicolas Hernandez Thiago Martins (Melvin Tarley 71). [Substitutes Not Used: Colin Clark Eric Denton Matt Jordan Fabrice Noel Daniel Wasson Chris Wingert]
-"It's not pretty right now said Rapids coach Fernando Clavijo.
-Once again it was a lack of finishing that hurt the Rapids. Winger Terry Cooke told The Denver Post that it's something that is a carryover from the training ground.
-"I think that creeps into the games Cooke said. "It's like bread and butter. People in situations one-on-one the ball should be going in the back of the net nine times out of 10 but we're never doing it."
-For the Rapids to win they will have to do it on the road where they've not had much success this season - they've won just twice on their travels and have scored just 11 goals in 15 road games. They've scored more than one goal in just two away game - the last time coming May 27 at Real Salt Lake but they also scored two goals at Houston in the season opener.
-"All season our team we've lacked forcefulness that we've not been able to put forth Clavijo said. "But I hope with the pressure of the final game before us and the need to quality this will change and we'll be able to score goals."
-Said Joe Cannon: "Our team needs to find the way the chemistry. To get results another way will be worth very little toward anything you win. The bad thing is that time is not our ally."
-The Rapids will be without Clint Mathis serving the second of a two-game suspension levied after his elbow against Avery John in the Sept. 30 game v New England. But the Rapids will also be without center back Mike Petke sent off for "verbal abuse" after he confronted referee Brian Hall after the match.
-"This is the last I'm ever going to say about this it's giving me ulcers and makes me want to retire Petke said to the Post."