Red Bulls Host Dynamo in 2013 Playoff Rematch

The New York Red Bulls (1-2-4) host their second straight Wednesday night home match, welcoming the Houston Dynamo (2-3-1). The Dynamo lost 2-0 in their regular season meeting with NY at Red Bull Arena last season but they advanced (with the need of extra time) to the Eastern Conference Finals over the Red Bulls.

Both NY and the Dynamo come off their last matches against Philadelphia, NY with a 2-1 win and Houston with a 0-0 draw. Both teams have had a slow start to their season with NY taking 7 games to win their first match and Houston having been winless for the last month.

Both teams come into this match missing key players on both sides of the ball. The Red Bulls will be without Tim Cahill with his hamstring acting up, Ibrahim Sekagaya serving a red card suspension, Bradley Wright-Phillips out with a flu, Eckersley and Convey still recovering form injuries, and Andrea Akpan with his hamstring are all missing. For Houston, defender Kofie Sarkodie is serving a red card suspension and Brad Davis is still out with an injury. With all of the absences, Mike Petke will have to shuffle around NY’s lineup a lot more than Dom Kinnear will have to do for Houston.

With Sarkodie out, Kinear can either slide Jermiane Taylor over or slot Warren Crevalle to right back. Either way, Houston misses out on Sarkodie’s attacking presence. NY’s Roy Miller pushes high into the attack and whoever is on the left side pinches narrow to accommodate Miller and Henry’s link up play. Going with a player like Crevalle may afford the Dynamo to be more dangerous in transition but sacrifices their defensive efforts. If Taylor slots over, Kinnear will likely play rookie AJ Cochran who has received praise from the veteran manager after his first start of the season.

Houston only has 1 win all time in New York and that came in last season’s playoffs. The Dynamo have only scored 4 goals in the regular season at New York to compound on their road issues against the Red Bulls. However, past regular season results only matter so much and players seem to remember playoff results more. With this possibly being Henry’s swan song, the Red Bulls may be out looking for a little revenge and to get on a winning streak.