Dynamo-Red Bulls Preview
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
STATS Senior Writer
(AP) -- It wasn't surprising that the home team prevailed when the New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo met one week ago in Texas.
The Red Bulls now hope to gain a measure of revenge Friday night and end the five-game win streak of the Dynamo, who have never won a road game in this series.
These are the league's only unbeaten home teams, with both at 7-0-3 entering last Friday's matchup in Houston. The Dynamo (11-5-7) won 2-0 to move atop the Eastern Conference and spoil Tim Cahill's MLS debut for the Red Bulls.
Houston and Sporting Kansas City both have 40 points in the East, with the Dynamo holding the better goal differential. New York (11-7-5) is third with 38.
"We are happy we are sitting in first place in the conference and now teams will be after us, which happens when you win games," coach Dominic Kinnear told the Dynamo's official website. "They will be ready and it's up to us to try and keep our place in the top of the standings."
Houston finished with a 16-5 edge in shots, building a lead after 28 minutes on goals by Calen Carr and Jermaine Taylor. Tally Hall recorded his third straight shutout, and he's tied with Kansas City's Jimmy Nielsen for the league lead with 10.
Cahill officially joined New York on July 30 and will play his first MLS home game this Friday. The Australian star lasted the entire game last week, recording New York's only first-half shot on goal.
Thierry Henry also played the full 90 minutes, but the Designated Player who turned in the best performance from either side may have been Houston midfielder Oscar Garcia.
"It was extra emotional to play on par and against a great player like Thierry Henry," Garcia said. "I never imagined it, and thank God I had the opportunity. It's beautiful that we were able to win and to be able to share the moment with a grand player like Thierry Henry."
Although the Red Bulls' road winless streak has reached five, the club is confident of improving on its 4-0-4 all-time home record against the Dynamo.
"Perhaps when you lose like this, it's a good idea to get that same team at home," coach Hans Backe told the Red Bulls' official website.
Backe may re-insert Kenny Cooper into his lineup. Cooper, tied for second in MLS with 13 goals, was a second-half substitute last weekend.
Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark has been cleared to begin his second stint with the club after signing as a free agent. Houston resolved the transfer of defender Geoff Cameron to English Premier League club Stoke City this week to make Clark eligible.
"He should be available for selection Friday if (Kinnear) so chooses," team president Chris Canetti said.
New York has dropped consecutive games for the first time since the first two games of 2012.
"What we have to do is now get back into our winning ways," midfielder Teemu Tainio said. "And we play home against a very good team in Houston, so we just have to make it right."
Updated August 9, 2012