FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Plenty of familiar words have been bandied about in the buildup to Saturday night’s pivotal matchup between the New England Revolution and Houston Dynamo.
Battle. Fight. Intensity.
It’s par for the course when it comes to the Revs and Dynamo, two clubs which have provided some epic meetings since clashing in back-to-back MLS Cup finals in 2006 and 2007.
The atmosphere should be no different this weekend – in fact, it may be heightened – when fifth-place New England (11-11-7, 40 pts.) and fourth-place Houston (12-10-7, 43 pts.) square off with playoff positioning on the line.
“Nothing’s easy with Houston,” said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. “They’ve made that very clear since the franchise began. Nothing’s easy. They fight every play, they fight every inch.”
“It’s going to be a battle,” said rookie right back Andrew Farrell, who has played the full 90 minutes in each of the first two meetings with Houston this season. “We’re going to have to kind of fight them first then play the soccer second. It’s going to be a fun one. It’s kind of like a playoff atmosphere every weekend now.”
The May 18 meeting at BBVA Compass Stadium (a 2-0 Revs win) was particularly testy as a total of six cards were handed out, including matching reds to Revolution forward Dimitry Imbongo and Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell following a first-half scuffle.
Imbongo was also ejected from the July 13 match at Gillette Stadium (a 2-1 Dynamo win), although only three cards were dished out in that contest.
“What I think Houston does really well is they can bring a real intense-type atmosphere in-game, but when the game settles down, they can settle it down quickly and play,” said Heaps. “They kind of hit you with both, because you’re getting riled up and all of a sudden they start playing, so you have to be mindful of their transition from rough and tough to a tactical, technical team.”