HOUSTON, Texas – The New England Revolution aims to become the first-ever visiting team to win at BBVA Compass Stadium when the club takes on the Houston Dynamo at the recently-opened venue on Saturday night.
Kickoff between the Revs (7-15-8, 29 pts.) and Dynamo (12-8-10, 46 pts.) is set for 8:30 p.m. ET, with Comcast SportsNet televising the game regionally and 98.5 The Sports Hub carrying the radio call.
Current Form: Revs try to play spoiler as Houston clings to final playoff spot
Darrius Barnes put a dent in the New York Red Bulls’ playoff aspirations with his first career goal last weekend at Gillette Stadium, scoring in the 95th minute to cancel out Joel Lindpere’s 91st-minute opener as the teams finished in a 1-1 draw. But the Revs felt they deserved more based on their performance, particularly as they were denied by both an incorrect offside decision and the woodwork in an impressive first-half showing.
“We know if we play like that, we’ll win games,” said center back A.J. Soares, who returned to the starting lineup against the Red Bulls. “We’re happy with that performance. Mostly happy with our reaction after we gave up the goal because it would’ve been easy to just put our heads down and call it a day … That’s the reaction, that’s the kind of mentality we want everyone to have and guys have that. We’re building. This team’s getting better all the time and we’re really positive about where we’re going.”
The Revs have the chance to impact another team’s postseason hopes this weekend as the Dynamo sits just one point ahead of the Columbus Crew for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Houston sat atop the conference standings in early August but a late-summer swoon (1-3-3 in the last seven games) has seen Dominic Kinnear’s side slip into a tenuous fifth-place position with four games remaining.
Past Meetings: Revs hope past success in Houston transfers to BBVA Compass Stadium
For the most part, Houston has been a happy destination for the Revs since the Dynamo came to town in 2006. Six previous visits have garnered an impressive 4-1-1 record, although a string of four straight victories in Houston was snapped with a 1-0 loss in the most recent visit on April 17, 2011.
Those six previous matches were all played at Robertson Stadium, the Dynamo’s former home. The Revs face a tall task if they hope to transfer their road success against the Dynamo to the club’s new venue, BBVA Compass Stadium, where Houston has yet to lose (9-0-5) in 14 matches.
New England was minutes away from victory over Houston in the season’s first meeting at Gillette Stadium back in May – guided by a pair of goals from Saer Sene – but Luiz Camargo came off the bench to score the game-tying goal in the 87th minute and the teams finished level at 2-2.
Injury Report: Changes afoot for banged-up Revs; Houston boasts clean bill of health
Revolution head coach Jay Heaps will have to make at least three changes to the lineup which drew the Red Bulls last weekend as both Flo Lechner (R MCL sprain) and Lee Nguyen (R shoulder surgery) are done for the season and Ryan Guy is currently on international duty with Guam.
The Revs did receive a bit of good news with regards to Clyde Simms (R calf tightness), who was upgraded to questionable on Friday’s injury report after traveling with the club to Houston. Still, there will be opportunities for others to impress against the Dynamo with so many spots open in the starting lineup.
“I think we have a very deep team,” said Kevin Alston, who’s found a new home at left back. “I think we have good players and it’s good that they get the opportunity to step up now and show what they can do.”
Houston’s most recent injury report features little of consequence with only two players listed and none below the questionable designation. Most notable was the inclusion of midfielder Giles Barnes – who’s made only two brief substitute appearances since his recent signing – listed as questionable with a right quad strain.
Final Thoughts: Intensity on high as Revs play with “nothing to lose”
“Honestly, I think they’re going to have to match our intensity, because we’re coming out there and we’ve got nothing to lose,” said Soares. “We’re going out there and playing for some pride and we want to be that first team to win there. I think they’re going to have to come out and match our intensity to be honest.”